Coronavirus in Italy is causing travelers to cancel trips

How one tour company is handling the COVID-19 outbreak

While 2020 started off as the best Italy tourism year in decades for one travel company, the coronavirus outbreak led to a quick and drastic reversal.

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“In two weeks, we lost March and April because the CDC and the State Department put out the warning,” Steve Perillo said during an exclusive interview Friday on FOX Business’ “The Claman Countdown.”

Perillo is the CEO of Perillo Tours, a luxury tourism company focused on travel to Italy, which has been one of the countries most affected by coronavirus.

On Feb. 28, the CDC recommended avoiding nonessential travel to Italy, highlighting Lombardy and Veneto in northern Italy because of the amount of community transmission of the virus.

The coronavirus death toll in Italy rose to 197, the Civil Protection Agency said Friday afternoon. According to Reuters, this is the largest daily increase in fatalities since coronavirus infections were confirmed about two weeks ago. Italy has reported more deaths a day from the virus than any other country and has closed schools this week in an attempt to deal with the country’s 4,636 cases, Reuters reported.

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Perillo’s company canceled all its tours in March and April and relaxed its cancelation policies, allowing guests to cancel free of charge, in hopes of retaining customers in the future.

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Perillo said the majority of guests re-booked their upcoming Italy trips for the fall or are postponing until next year.

“Most people are very understanding; they want to go,” he told FOX Business’ Liz Claman. “This is on their bucket list. Everyone wants to go to Italy.”

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Claman brought up an upcoming tour led by SNL veteran Joe Piscopo in April and asked if it was still scheduled.

Perillo said, despite having 31 people still interested in going on the trip, his company is “probably going to cancel it” at the moment.

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