Italian regions propose barring day-trippers to save ski season

Italy's Alpine regions have proposed limiting ski passes to people staying overnight as they scramble to save the snow tourism sector.

Italian regions propose barring day-trippers to save ski season
A skier in Breuil-Cervinia, northwest Italy. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Under the proposal, unveiled on Monday by the regions of Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, only people who can prove they have booked accommodation or own a holiday home in a resort area would be allowed to buy a ski pass.

It's the latest push to save Italy's ski season, after the government indicated that slopes would not be allowed to open as usual in December for fear of starting new Covid-19 clusters.

READ ALSO: Where and when will it be possible to go skiing in Europe this year?

Limiting ski passes to overnight visitors would help limit crowding while shoring up local businesses, who stand to lose as much as 60 percent of their annual turnover without the Christmas holidays, the regions said in a joint statement.

It would also avoid skiers travelling to the slopes and back for a day, which they acknowledged could present a heightened risk. 

READ ALSO: 'Huge economic damage': Italian ski resorts fear closure until mid-January

Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Regional authorities have already proposed introducing a cap on the number of people on the slopes each day, as well as a 50 percent limit on passengers in cable cars, mandatory face masks, and restrictions on bars and restaurants serving après-ski meals and drinks.

They hope the national government will consider the precautions sufficient to allow them to reopen resorts when it next revises Italy's coronavirus rules, as it is due to do later this week.

But so far the signs aren't encouraging, with the government still debating how tightly to restrict travel over the Christmas period. 

READ ALSO: 'A different kind of Christmas': What will Italy's coronavirus rules be over the holidays?

Some of Italy's neighbours, including France and Germany, have discussed a possible joint agreement to keep ski resorts closed into January, though the EU has said it's up to each country to decide.

Meanwhile across the border in Switzerland the slopes are already open, with authorities saying that extra precautions including face masks are enough to keep skiers safe.

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TRAVEL: Why Venice is named among Europe’s cheapest city break destinations

The Italian city of Venice has been named the third-cheapest place for a city break in Europe - a survey result that might surprise some visitors. Here’s why it may not be as costly as you'd think.

TRAVEL: Why Venice is named among Europe’s cheapest city break destinations

A new survey of 100 different cities in Europe by the Omio transport booking website has revealed that Venice is the third-cheapest destination for a city escape, in terms of being the most affordable and having the highest number of free activities and attractions.

The ranking will no doubt come as a surprise to many, due to the city’s reputation as an expensive destination geared towards luxury travel – and the fact that Venetian residents have been leaving the city’s historic centre in droves partly due to high housing costs.

The objective of the study was to identify the best tourist destinations to visit on a reduced budget, due to the current economic climate of inflation and rising prices affecting almost all daily costs.

It also aimed to show tourists that they can save a lot of money if they organise their travel by taking advantage of free offers and opportunities, as well as thinking carefully about where they go.

“Believe it or not, it is possible to have a cheap holiday in Venice,” the study’s authors wrote, advising travellers to “follow a few simple tricks to turn some of Venice’s most expensive places into low-budget havens”. 

READ ALSO: How much does it really cost to live in Venice?

Venice was found to have a total of 136 free tourist attractions, 22 free museums, and 58 guided tours rated as “affordable”. The study also highlighted the city’s 186 public drinking fountains, which local authorities this summer urged visitors to use in order to cut down on bottled water purchases. 

The study however did not include the cost of accommodation, and it put the cost of a 24-hour public transport ticket in Venice at €21.88: several times higher than the prices listed for other cities at the top of the ranking.

Venice is promoting the use of its network of water fountains amid efforts to combat plastic waste. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

The average price of a beer in the floating city also seemed comparatively high at €4.38, though this was below the European average price of €4.91.

Travellers can expect a meal for two in an average restaurant to set them back around €61 – that is, as long as they don’t wander into any of the tourist traps notorious for rip-off prices.

READ ALSO: Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

Overall Venice got a score of 82.3 percent to take third place, whilst Bruges in Belgium came in second with 93.6 percent and Granada was first with 100 percent.

Further surprises came in the ranking for other Italian cities: Florence was rated the 10th cheapest European city break destination, with 113 free attractions, 17 museums with free entrance, and a 24-hour public transport ticket costing 4 euros.

Meanwhile Naples – where the cost of living is comparatively low – was rated as being slightly more expensive to visit, in 12th place. Tuscan tourist hotspot Pisa came in 13th place, while the northern city of Turin was 23rd.

Milan was 30th on the list, which the study said has 372 free tourist attractions, but higher costs for food and drink

Rome came in 37th place – despite the survey saying the capital has a huge 553 free attractions, 34 free museums, and ten times more public drinking fountains than Venice (1,867).