Summer rental boom: Italy reports surge in holiday bookings from the UK and US

Italian tourism is set for a major revival this summer, as industry experts say the country’s short and medium-term holiday rental market is experiencing a boom - mainly thanks to bookings from vaccinated Brits and Americans.

Summer rental boom: Italy reports surge in holiday bookings from the UK and US
Sicily is set to be the top destination for vaccinated British and American holidaymakers this summer. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

“The numbers tell us that the economic impact of massive vaccination campaigns is very concrete,” Stefano Bettanin, president of short-term rental property owners’ association Property Managers Italia, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Tuesday.

“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,” he said. “Now people feel safer and want to travel again.”

READ ALSO: When will Italy relax the restrictions on international travel?

Their booking data showed Sicily was by far the most in-demand destination for these visitors, closely followed by Puglia, which is especially popular among the Brits.

“In these areas, the average stay time is much longer, also because foreigners find prices lower than in their countries and the quality of life much higher,” said Bettanin.

“This year the requests are for longer holiday periods, partly thanks to the possibility of smart working,” he added.

Photo: Vincenzo PINTO/AFP

Italy has not confirmed the rules for vaccinated visitors this summer, and has not yet confirmed when the travel restrictions could be relaxed. 

Many rules and restrictions remain in place in the country at the moment amid a still-high infection rate and a vaccination programme far slower than that in the US or UK.

However there are some positive signs for hopeful visitors, as the head of the European Commission said she expects that those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to visit the EU this summer.

The Italian tourism industry has said it expects high revenues this summer – though the return of mass tourism looks unlikely, and booking data shows some changing trends.

EXPLAINED: How has Italy changed its rules on travel from the UK?

While bookings appear to be flooding in for rural or seaside areas. Italy’s tourism-focused cities, normally thronged by more visitors than they can handle, are not getting as many bookings and are expected to struggle again this summer.

Rather than Florence, for example, nearby rural areas like Tuscany’s Chianti and Crete Senesi are thought to be experiencing a surge in popularity, 

“The restart will also be strong in Veneto; in Venice, Padua, Verona and Vicenza, especially in the villas in the countryside,” Bettanin explained.

“Customers are looking for authentic experiences. The baglio in Sicily, the trullo in Puglia, the Palladian villas in Veneto,” he said. “People want a garden and privacy, a place to feel comfortable with the family.”

Italian tourism chiefs are urging the government to drop the 10pm curfew and limitations on restaurants and other businesses amid concerns they will put visitors off – particularly when neighbouring countries such as Greece have fewer rules in place.

Italy is depending on summer tourism to help offset its economic downturn – one of the worst in Europe

While Italy has recently started loosening coronavirus restrictions in some parts of the country, the government has not yet announced any changes to the current restrictions on international travel.


So far the only indication from the Italian government is that it hopes to allow tourism by early June. An update from the government is expected by May.

Almost all travel to or from Italy at the moment requires coronavirus testing and quarantine on arrival, with rules varying depending on the country you’re travelling from.

Tight restrictions remain in place on non-essential travel from many countries, including the US.

Italy is likely to adopt the European ‘Green Certificate’, allowing easier movement between member states for those who are fully vaccinated, or have tested negative within the 48 hours before travel.

It is not clear yet whether this or any other pass would be available to travellers from the UK or US, or what the rules would be for vaccinated tourists from those countries arriving in Italy.

Find more information about travel to or from Italy on the Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”