Local tour guide businesses shaken by the new travel restrictions

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By Machela Osagboro

Another businessman in the tourism industry has reported that they have already been adversely affected by the travel restrictions against certain countries affected by the coronavirus.

 The government of Antigua and Barbuda has placed travel restrictions on passengers originating from Italian cities where 12 persons have already died from the COVID-19 virus.

The businessman, Marco Ponti, responded to the recent proclamation of the travel restriction on Italians and stated that, “It is very bad for us, because we work mainly with the Italian market, and this can give us problems in the future; it depends on how long the situation will last.”

The Italian who operates a local tour guide company called, “Caribbean Magic Wallet,” said that he has been adversely affected by the new announcement. His business caters to an Italian base, and with no Italian tourists coming in, he said he will not have a reason to operate. The tour operator stated that the number of daily tours have already fallen amid the new restrictions.

Ponti said that he reached out to the tourism office in an attempt to find a solution to his dilemma. “I tried to speak with the minister and they didn’t know anything for sure; they cannot confirm or say anything to tour operators as to what will happen to us for the future,” added the tour operator.

The businessman reported that other tour operators have also been negatively affected by the new developments, and that most operators, “Hope that the situation will become clearer, because information is incomplete, and we don’t know exactly what to do.”

Ponti opined that the situation at home was blown out of proportion and the Italian media created an undue state of panic. However, he says that he understands the actions of the government. “I think that that is the right consequence of what is happening; it is about preventing people from coming here and spreading the virus.”.

Ponti added that the whole situation surrounding the coronavirus, “Is confusing, and I hope they find a solution soon, for the people, for the business and for everybody.”

So far, 12 people have died from the novel coronavirus in Italy, where more than 400 infections have been reported. In an effort to contain the virus, the Italian Government has since placed a lockdown on a number of cities like Venice and Milan. 

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