Italian hotels lost 1.7 billion euros in 2009: association

Italy's normally booming hotel sector suffered a loss of some 1.7 billion euros last year amid economic doldrums at home and abroad, the hotel industry association Federalberghi said Friday.

"The numbers don't allow for optimism," Federalberghi president Bernabo Bocca said in a statement, noting a 3.8 percent drop in hotel occupancy compared with 2008 for a loss of about one billion euros (1.4 billion dollars).

Another 700 million euros was lost through a lowering of room rates by more than two percent, Bocca said.

The downturn caused 50,000 job losses in the tourism sector including 12,000 in the hotel industry, and another 25,000 in related restaurant and commercial businesses, Federalberghi said.

The sector is "facing 2010 in total uncertainty... both for the national and world economy," Bocca said.

The figures are based on a study of a representative sample of 1,000 companies in the hotel sector.

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