AN Italian multinational company has cancelled its annual convention in Mallorca due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

Approximately 500 people from across the globe were expected to attend the five-day conference in Calvia next month, organised by the Luxottica Group. 

Specialising in glasses and optical accessories, the Italian company is based in the town of Agordo, situated in the Veneto region of Italy.

However, with the number of cases of the Covid-19 virus in northern Italy steadily multiplying, and so far killing 11 people and infecting at least 322, the convention organisers have taken the decision to cancel the event.

Pulling the conference will have a colossal effect on a number of businesses on the island, as all of the group’s hotel bookings, transport, transfers, excursions and restaurant bookings have now been cancelled.

The move has also affected the Spanish airline that was set to fly in a number of guests from Italy to Mallorca.

In addition to the grave health risks posed, if the the Covid-19 virus spreads further from Italy into Central European countries, the disease could have a negative impact on the tourism sector, particularly on airlines, transport companies and hotels.

The Italian government has already cancelled all study trips and cultural exchanges within Europe, affecting hundreds of students in Mallorca.

This includes pupils at the Son Pacs Institute who planned to participate in a film festival in Brescia this weekend.

Tomorrow, Spanish airlines will also decide whether to cancel flights to Italy from Madrid, Barcelona and Palma’s Son Sant Joan airports.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the Minister of Tourism, Iago Negueruela, said the Balearic Health Department is working closely with the central Government to ensure the necessary steps are taken to prevent the virus from spreading.

This includes imposing regulations on cruise ships docking at the Port of Palma due to the high number of cruise passengers arriving to the capital from Italian ports each week.

“From a tourist point of view, the Government does not believe that due to the coronavirus there is no risk for the next summer season in the Balearic Islands,” said Negueruela.

Urging citizens and those in the tourism sector to remain calm, he stressed that his department will adopt the necessary preventive measures laid down in the national protocol.

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