Pervasive Drought Threatens to Destroy Tourism in Sicily, Italy

An extreme drought in Sicily is the worst the Italian island has seen in 20 years, and it’s so bad it’s threatening the region’s economy.The drought in Sicily has caused the local climate to mirror that of Ethiopia, UK outlet Sky News reported, causing a state of emergency, drying up lakes, and prompting officials to implement strict water rations.

The rations are so strict — with some residents being asked to cut their water use by as much as 45% — it’s prompting some hotel and inn owners to turn guests away because they cannot guarantee showers will run or toilets will flush, CNN reported.”Rightly, people ask us for reassurances before coming, but we don’t know what to say,” Giovanni Lopez, who owns the Le Cinque Novelle bed and breakfast (B&B) in central Agrigento, told CNN. “The situation is quickly impacting the entire tourist accommodation sector, which risks serious economic consequences, given that tourism is a sector almost everyone in this part of Sicily relies on.”The economic impact is impossible to ignore — between empty reservoirs and livestock that have died due to the drought, CNN reported the region has lost more than a billion Euros, or nearly 1.1 billion USD.Representatives for Italy’s Ministry of Tourism did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. However, CNN reported that Italy’s tourism minister, Daniela Santanchè, suggested in April that Sicily should attempt to expand its tourism beyond summer to address the region’s worsening water crisis.In addition to the drought, numerous regions of Italy, including Sicily, are also facing population destabilization, prompting officials to offer incentives to relocate to its rural regions in hopes that new residents will help stabilize the population levels.

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