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Crisis-hit Italians seeking breathing space in summer holidays

By Marzia De Giuli (Xinhua)

09:57, July 26, 2012

ROME, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Valeria Santamaria, like millions of other Italians, did not know yet where she will spend this year's summer holidays.

"I may go to the seaside here in Italy, or perhaps travel to Ireland, but I have not found the time yet to think about that," she told Xinhua while getting off a train at Milan railway station. "I was on a business trip, and all what I need now is a total break from work and from everything."

Ivan Galie, a man from Ascoli Piceno in central Italy, will spend a week in the mountains of northern Trentino region with his girlfriend and their brothers-in-law.

"It will not be too expensive, around 600 euros (723 U.S. dollars) each, a reasonable expense considering the current difficult times," he said.

The last few months were tough for Italians burdened by a series of austerity measures carried out by the emergency government to tackle an escalating debt crisis.

But now that the summer sun is shining on the Mediterranean country, about half of the Italian population is to take a vital breathing space, according to a report from the national hotel association Federalberghi.

However, six out of 10 Italians have not decided their holiday destination yet. Over 70 percent were searching the most convenient solution in the web, according to the market research company Doxa.

"We booked our flights and hostels through the Internet, and it was a good deal indeed," said 19-year-old Alessandro Cataldi.

"My friends and I will only spend 400 euros each (482 dollars) for a nine-day holiday in Paris and Berlin, including the flights," he told Xinhua.

For the newly graduated student, the economic crisis was also an opportunity to reflect upon "things that really count in life starting from making wonderful travel experiences with less money, which is perfectly possible."

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