Italy will allow tourists to enter quarantine-free as soon as this month, the prime minister, Mario Draghi, has announced, saying the country was “ready to welcome back the world”.
Visitors who have had an EU-approved Covid-19 vaccine, recovered from the disease, or tested negative 48 hours prior to travelling will be allowed entry without restrictions, a tourism ministry source said.
The new rules will apply to all countries apart from those on Italy’s travel restrictions blacklist, including Brazil and India.
Italy’s government is racing to save its summer tourism season in the hope of salvaging an industry badly damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Few countries are intertwined with tourism as Italy. The world longs to travel here,” Draghi, who was appointed prime minister in February, said after a meeting of G20 tourism ministers on Tuesday in Rome.
“Our mountains, our beaches, our cities and our countryside are reopening. And this process will speed up in the coming weeks and months.”
The new rules will form part of Italy’s “green pass” while it waits for the EU’s equivalent, which is expected to begin in the second half of June.
“From mid-May tourists can have the Italian pass … so the time has come to book your holidays to Italy,” added Draghi.
Italian travel operators have reported a boom in foreign holidaymakers, especially from the UK and US, booking holiday apartments this summer in the lead-up to the travel rules being announced.
“We’re taking many bookings from Britain and the USA, and it is no coincidence that these are countries where the most vaccine doses have been administered,” Stefano Bettanin, the president of Property Managers Italia, told Corriere della Sera last week.
The most popular places were Sicily and Puglia, Bettanin added.
Italy’s tourism sector, which accounted for 14% of GDP before the pandemic, lost a total of €120.6bn in 2020, according to figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council in April.