The Atlantic

The Costs of Europe’s Soon-to-Be-Lost Summer

Restoring tourism isn’t just an economic necessity for the continent, but also a cultural one.
Source: Henry Gruyaert / Magnum

Summer is peak tourism time in Europe. The weather is nice, schools are out, and millions of people flock to popular destinations such as Athens, Barcelona, and Venice.

Not this year, though. Even with some countries reopening their economies, the coronavirus has all but ensured that this summer, and the many vacations people have booked in preparation for it, won’t go ahead as planned.

Europe can’t afford this. With millions of tourism jobs at stake, many European countries have decided to —if not yet to international visitors, then at least to fellow Europeans. Their proposals are partly rooted in a desire to spare the tourism sector, but they also stem from something deeper—a longing to retain a fundamental part of European life. Unlike the United States, and its notorious work-life imbalance, Europe savors the summer: a sacred time in

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