Tourist bookings to Venice down 40 %

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Hotel bookings in Venice are down by 40 per cent as images of the city under water during last month’s record flooding dissuade tourists around the world from visiting.

Tens of thousands of bookings have been cancelled since the city was inundated by a series of unusually high tides and tourism officials fear the worst for Christmas and New Year.

Marco Polo airport, just across the lagoon from Venice, has reportedly seen a 20% drop in traffic since the dramatic flooding.

The high tides of mid-November, the highest of which reached 1.87 metres, were the worst since the big flood of 1966 and left gondolas marooned on canal banks and tourists struggling through murky water up to their waists.

Venetians say that tourists who think the city remains underwater for days are mistaken, pointing out that when an “acqua alta” or high tide event happens, it comes and goes in a matter of hours.

The winter floods are by no means over – on Saturday there is expected to be a high tide of 1.45 metres which will leave 60 per cent of the city underwater, albeit just for a few hours.

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