Photos: Pandemic turns summer into European tourism’s leanest season

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BRUGES, Belgium (AP) — Europe’s leanest summer tourist season in recent history is drawing to a close, six months after the coronavirus pandemic hit the continent. Experts say COVID-19 might even tighten its grip over the coming months. That means tourism losses piling up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union. In the Belgian city of Bruges, white swans instead of tourist boats rule the canals, hotels stand empty and museums count their losses. 

Fourth generation tour boat operator Michiel Michielsens drives his electric boat down a canal in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Europe’s leanest summer tourist season in history is starting to draw to a close, six months after the coronavirus hit the continent. COVID-19 might tighten its grip over the coming months, with losses piling up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union. In the Belgian city of Bruges, white swans instead of tourist boats rule the canals, hotels stand empty and museums count their losses. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Swans swim under a canal bridge in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Europe’s leanest summer tourist season in history is starting to draw to a close, six months after the coronavirus hit the continent. COVID-19 might tighten its grip over the coming months, with losses piling up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union. In the Belgian city of Bruges, white swans instead of tourist boats rule the canals, hotels stand empty and museums count their losses. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A ticket vendor for a canal boat tour operator waits in his booth in Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A couple in protective face masks consult a tourist map in the center of Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Two people in a restaurant terrace overlook a canal with unused tourist boats still covered with their rain canvas on a canal in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A tour boat operator drives his nearly empty boat down a canal in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Horse and carriage tour operators wait in the center of Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Europe’s leanest summer tourist season in history is starting to draw to a close, six months after the coronavirus hit the continent. COVID-19 might tighten its grip over the coming months, with losses piling up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union. In the Belgian city of Bruges, white swans instead of tourist boats rule the canals, hotels stand empty and museums count their losses. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A group of people, wearing protective face masks, walk by an exhibition advertisement for the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Museum business director Jonathan Nowakowski speaks with a journalist inside the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Two people walk by an empty couch in front of a painting, Madonna with Canon Joris van der Paele by Jan van Eyck, inside the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A tour operator in a protective face mask sits in an empty tour bus as he speaks with a couple on the market square of Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Europe’s leanest summer tourist season in history is starting to draw to a close, six months after the coronavirus hit the continent. COVID-19 might tighten its grip over the coming months, with losses piling up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union. In the Belgian city of Bruges, white swans instead of tourist boats rule the canals, hotels stand empty and museums count their losses. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Two waiters, in protective face masks, wait on a nearly empty terrace at a restaurant in Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Restaurant co-owner Luc Broes sits inside his empty dining room at the Duc de Bourgogne restaurant in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Europe’s leanest summer tourist season in history is starting to draw to a close, six months after the coronavirus hit the continent. COVID-19 might tighten its grip over the coming months, with losses piling up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union. In the Belgian city of Bruges, white swans instead of tourist boats rule the canals, hotels stand empty and museums count their losses. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
An older couple sit in an empty terrace of a restaurant in a historic square of Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A shopkeeper, wearing a protective face mask, waits for shoppers in an empty chocolate shop in the center of Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A boy in a protective face mask looks into the window of a shop selling tapestry items in the center of Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
An employee looks out the window of an empty hotel room at the Duc de Bourgogne hotel in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone speaks with a journalist at his Chocolate Line shop in Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Two women, wearing protective face masks, walk by a gift shop selling tea in the center of Bruges, Belgium, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A tour operator stands under an umbrella with a British and American flag as she waits for customers in the center of Bruges, Belgium, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Tourism sector losses have piled up in the tens of billions of euros across the 27-nation European Union, and the continent’s vaunted government support and social security system is under increasing strain to prop up the sector. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

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