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Giglio mayor: Shipwreck bad for tourism

June 2, 2012 at 9:44 AM
| License Photo

GIGLIO, Italy, June 2 (UPI) -- The mayor of the tiny Italian island of Giglio believes the wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia has hurt the economy.

Sergio Ortelli concedes the disaster gave a temporary boost to the economy as news crews descended on the island in January and February, the British newspaper The Independent reported. But he believes the fear of pollution is keeping tourists away.

"The real test will be from the middle of June when the children are off from school," he said. "So far we've had lots of the curious, who come on day trips to look at the wreck, but these people are not staying in hotels for a week."

The ship remains offshore on its side, where it ran aground. After the reporters left, the island hosted engineers with the Dutch salvage company Smit, who removed the oil from the ship, and now expects another group of experts who will deal with the vessel itself. Salvage operations were getting underway this weekend.

The Dutch group got a special good-by from Giglio when they departed earlier this month, with islanders performing a Mexican wave.

"They were great friends to us. We had a really good feeling with them," said Massimiliano Botti, owner of the Porta Via restaurant.

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