Italy will allow tourists to enter the country without quarantining as soon as mid-May, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has announced, as he claimed the nation was “ready to welcome back the world”.
Visitors who have either received a Covid-19 vaccine, have immunity from previous infection, or tested negative 48 hours prior to travelling will be allowed entry without restrictions, a tourism ministry source said.
The EU is set to unveil its vaccine passport “green pass” in the middle of June in a bid to pave the way for summer holidays abroad this summer.
But Draghi insisted that Italy, which generates around 13 per cent of its economic output from tourism, will have its own green pass ready by the middle of this month.
“Let us not wait until mid-June for the EU pass,” the Italian PM said following a G7 meeting in London. “In mid-May tourists can have the Italian pass… so the time has come to book your holidays in Italy.”
“Our mountains, our beaches, our cities and our countryside are reopening. And this process will speed up in the coming weeks and months,” he added.
The new rules will apply to all countries except those s on Italy’s travel ban list which carry an increased risk of spreading new Covid mutations, including Brazil and India.
Italy’s tourism sector lost a total €120.6bn in 2020 as international borders remained shuttered during the pandemic, according to figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Tourist arrivals to countries around the world dropped three quarters globally in 2020, with nearly 62m travel and tourism jobs around the world disappearing as a result of the pandemic, WTTC figures showed.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that monthly air passenger arrivals to the UK fell from more than 6.8m in February 2020 to just 112,300 in April 2020 — a fall of around 98.3 per cent.
Ministers are preparing to reveal the government’s travel green list later this week which will outline the handful of countries people from the UK will be able to travel to over the coming weeks.
In a major hint at which countries will be on the list, the Foreign Office yesterday dropped its advice against non-essential foreign travel to Portugal and the Greek Islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.
It also declared that the Canary Islands and Israel are both safe, stating that it “no longer advises against all but essential travel” to the two destinations.
The Department for Transport (DfT) will unveil the list as part of a new traffic light system that will replace the current ban on all non-essential international travel that is due to expire on 17 May.
People travelling to the UK from countries on the green list will not need to isolate for 14 days upon their return.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the approach will be cautious to avoid “an influx of disease”.