Italian hermit on island alone is leaving after 32 years
Mauro Morandi is bidding farewell to his tiny hut on the Isle of Budelli after local authorities repeatedly threatened him with eviction.
Mauro Morandi has been living on the Isle of Budelli since 1989.
The United States has reported more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other country in the world as of January 2021. What's more, the U.S. has experienced the biggest tourism revenue loss due to the pandemic, missing out on a remarkable $147.245 billion in the first ten months of 2020. Many states have cracked down on travel in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the country as a whole has also implemented bans on travel from key markets, including Europe.
Spain hosted fewer than 20 million foreign visitors in 2020 and saw the largest tourism revenue loss of any European country at $46,707 million, Official ESTA determined. The country reopened to travelers from other EU and Schengen-area countries this past summer but is still off-limits to many travelers, including Americans.
The world’s most visited country, France typically hosts more than 89 million tourists each year. However, the COVID-19 crisis caused that figure to decline dramatically in 2020, resulting in a total tourism revenue loss of $42.036 billion over the first 10 months of the year. Spain and France aren't alone, however, as a total of five European countries rank inside the top 10.
Thailand has begun safely and slowly reopening to international travelers and that's welcome news for the country's economy as the Asian hotspot has seen a $37.504 billion loss in tourism revenue due to the ongoing pandemic. The figure is the highest among any country in Asia, according to Official ESTA's latest report.
Germany's $34.641 billion in total tourism revenue losses from January 2020 to October 2020 is the fifth-most in the world and trails only Spain and France in Europe. The country lifted restrictions on travel from nearby nations back in June but remains closed to many travelers, including those visiting from the U.S. and U.K., which will be paramount to the country's tourism recovery
Italy emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and, unsurprisingly, hasn't been able to put a stop to the dramatic tourism revenue losses in the months since, reporting a total loss of $29.664 billion over the first 10 months of 2020 as the country remains closed to travelers from the U.S. and other key markets.
While the United Kingdom continues to be impacted by a new variant of coronavirus that experts say appears to spread more easily than others, the country's tourism revenue losses keep piling up, reaching $27.889 billion based on the latest figures taken into consideration by official ESTA.
Australia narrowly trails the U.K. in terms of tourism revenue loss, missing out on $27.206 billion over the first 10 months of 2020. The country was praised for its swift response to the pandemic and has remained vigilant as it continues to keep its borders closed to travel.
Japan's tourism industry has been equally hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced officials to postpone the Summer Olympics in Tokyo to 2021. Japan's total tourism revenue loss of $26.027 billion over the first 10 months of 2020 ranks as the ninth-most of any country in the world.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong has also been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on travel, experiencing a revenue loss of $24.069 billion, according to Official ESTA. The Special Administrative Region of China has charted a path to recovery, however, with the Hong Kong Tourism Board recently launching a standardized list of hygiene protocols to help prepare for the resumption of inbound travel.
He’s become known as Italy’s Robinson Crusoe after spending more than 30 years as the only resident of an idyllic island off the coast of Sardinia.
But Mauro Morandi is bidding farewell to his tiny hut on the Isle of Budelli after local authorities repeatedly threatened him with eviction.
The 81-year-old, who has been living on the island since 1989, announced his departure in a message on his Facebook page on Sunday.
“I’m going to leave,” he wrote, adding that he hoped “Budelli will be safeguarded as I have done for 32 years.” He also said he was “really p***ed off” about the situation.
The former teacher ended up on the stunning pink atoll while attempting to sail from Italy to Polynesia.
He’s previously told how he was instantly mesmerized by the place and decided to stay, taking over from the island’s former caretaker a short time after arriving.
However, the caretaker role became defunct when La Maddalena’s National Park took over ownership of Budelli in 2015.
Morandi has since spent years wrangling with officials, who say he has no legal right to be there now, and fighting against plans to restyle his home into an environmental observatory.
Goodbye to paradise
“I’m ready to do all I can to stay here, even if that means they’ll have to drag me away,” he told CNN Travel in Italian last year.
“I wouldn’t know where else to go live, certainly not back home in the north, nor what to do — this is my life. I just don’t see myself playing cards or bowls.”
Morandi also admitted that he was worried about the future of the place he’s so fiercely protected for 32 years.
“Just the other day I chased away two tourists who were trespassing on the off-limits pink beach,” he said.
“I clean the rubbish off the sand and stop intruders from coming here to do mayhem at night. Truth is, I’m the only one who has so far taken care of Budelli, doing the surveillance task that the park authorities should do”.
While he’s received plenty of support from well wishers and an online petition to keep him on the island has reached over 70,000 signatures, Morandi has now accepted his time there is up.
But it seems he won’t be going far judging from his Facebook post.
“You’ll still see my photos from another place, Sardinia is all beautiful,” he wrote.
In January 2020, La Maddalena Park president Fabrizio Fonnesu told CNN that authorities had no choice but to “intervene against all illegal constructions inside the park,” including Mauro’s hut.
“Nobody wants to chase him away, but what title does he have to stay since the island is no longer private?,” Fonnesu said.
“If in future there is the need to have a caretaker, we could reconsider his position, but when the works will start he must leave.”
CNN has contacted Morandi and La Maddalena Park for comment.