The photo has been used for illustrative purpose.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world's top tourist draws, from the ruins of Machu Piccu to Thailand's sandy beaches, to a standstill. Now tourism professionals and local authorities are hoping against hope for an economic recovery that will bring the punters back.
Here are some key examples.
Not so serenissima Venice — The Renaissance city of Venice on Italy's northern Adriatic coast is almost entirely dependent on tourism.
The first nine months of 2020 saw a drop of 73.1 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals, according to a study published by an employment consultancy in December. The overall decrease was 59.5 per cent.
"Without the tourists, Venice has become a ghost town, a dead city like Pompeii," said Anna Bigai, president of the lagoon city's tourist guide cooperative, who has led only around a dozen tours in the past year. "There's a feeling of sadness when you walk down the street."
Dim prospects in City of Lights — In Paris, 2020 was a disaster, with tourist numbers nosediving by two-thirds, translating into a loss of revenue estimated at 12.1 billion euros ($14.5 billion) compared with 2019. The Louvre museum, the world's largest, welcomed 72 per cent fewer visitors last year.
"We are starting the year with activity halted for at least three months, maybe a lot longer," said Didier Arino, director of independent advisory group Protourisme, noting that the Paris region depends heavily not only on tourists but also on business travellers.
Downbeat in Machu Picchu — Some 80 per cent of businesses bunched around the mountainous Inca citadel remain closed, with the local economy — heavily dependent on foreign tourists — at a standstill. Local mayor Darwin Baca expects 2021 to be another bust, fearing that business will not return to normal until at least 2022, depending on the success of vaccination programmes.
Barcelona blues — The mood is also morose in Barcelona, one of Spain's top tourist destinations, where hotel occupancy plunged from 8.5 million in 2019 to 1.8 million last year.
The few hotels still operating have repurposed into venues for teleworkers or have slashed their long-stay rates to compete with traditional rental accommodations.
Thai transformation? — Authorities in Thailand have turned to domestic tourism to keep the industry afloat, adding bank holidays and creating incentives for locals to travel. The policy has borne fruit in areas that are off the beaten track for international tourists such as in the northeast.
The Krungsri bank forecasts that the country will take two to three years to return to its pre-pandemic tourism levels, with tourism-linked employment and commercial activity expected to remain depressed.
Dubrovnik dreams — Croatia's medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, which saw an 85 per cent plunge in visitors last year, is dreaming of a return to pre-pandemic levels.
"The outlook is good for now," said Ana Hrnic, head of the tourist office. "There's a great desire to go back to 'normal' and we think that's going to happen."
Elsewhere in Europe, frustrations with COVID-19 curbs were spilling over, with scuffles breaking out at a large anti-restrictions protest in the German city of Kassel, and thousands joining a similar demonstration in Liestal, Switzerland.
During the seven-day period of Feb.3-9, the EU as a whole recorded an average daily of 103,250 new infections, which was 16 per cent down on the previous week. The average number of deaths each day was 3,137, or seven percent fewer.
Like millions of other Britons, the prime minister will be able to have a trim and a tipple on Saturday, when the country takes its biggest step yet out of coronavirus lockdown with the reopening in England of restaurants, pubs and hairdressers, along with secular and sacred venues including cinemas and church.
Shortages of critical equipment led to fierce competition among buyers from Europe, the US and elsewhere. A regional leader in Paris described the scramble to find masks a “worldwide treasure hunt.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that New York could run out of ventilators in six days.
In the summer of 2020, Arctic Ocean ice melted to its second lowest level on record, according to US scientists, caused by a combination of global heating and natural forces.
Tourism is booming in Tibet as more Chinese travel in-country because of the coronavirus pandemic, posing risks to the region’s fragile environment and historic sites.
Sitting poolside with his wife and two daughters, Rhett Shaffette says he’s already received the best gift this Father’s Day. His 12-year-old daughter is thriving, eight months after getting a portion of his liver.