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‘It’s time to book your holiday’: Italian PM announces new travel passes for summer

Italy is “ready to welcome back the world”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday as he confirmed a ‘green pass’ for international travel will be launched in mid-May.

'It's time to book your holiday': Italian PM announces new travel passes for summer
Italy's tourism businesses are gearing up for a big summer season in 2021. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

This article has been updated on Wednesday May 5th.

“From the second half of June the European Green Pass will be ready,” Draghi announced at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon following a meeting between G20 tourism ministers.

“In the meantime, the Italian government will introduce a national green pass, which will come into force starting in the second half of May”.

READ ALSO: How will the EU’s ‘Covid passport’ system work for tourists in Europe?

Photo: Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Itay’s tourism minister confirmed on Wednesday that the passes could be used by travellers from outside Europe, includng from the US and UK.

“It is valid for everyone, also and above all for tourists from outside the EU”, Massimo Garavaglia told news channel Sky TG24.

“All you need is a simple piece of paper certifying that you respect the rules” and either “you’re vaccinated, you’re immune because you’ve had the disease, or you have had a negative test,” he said, without giving further details.

The Italian announcement followed the European Commission’s suggestion last week that countries should open borders to vaccinated non-EU travellers, although the final decision is down to each individual member state.

READ ALSO: When can Americans travel to Italy again?

Tourism from within the EU remains possible under Italy’s international travel restrictions, but is currently discouraged by the Italian Foreign Ministry, which urges people to avoid any overseas trips unless absolutely necessary.

All arrivals from the EU must quarantine for five days on arrival and take two coronavirus tests.

With the introduction of the travel pass, this requirement looks likely to be dropped when it expires on May 15th.

“The world wants to travel to Italy, the pandemic has forced us to close, but Italy is ready to welcome back the world,” Draghi said.

“It’s time to book your holiday in Italy, we can’t wait to welcome you again,” he urged.

Italy’s tourism industry, worth around 13 percent of GDP before the pandemic hit, is one of the sectors worst-hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The tourism sector, Draghi said, must be made “more sustainable and inclusive, to protect the environment and also ensure the inclusion of local communities.”

“Our mountains, our beaches, our cities are reopening. Some economic sectors are destined to shrink, but others to grow. and I have no doubt that tourism in Italy will return stronger than before.”

While Italian tourism industry bosses expect to see a strong recovery in 2021, the government has so far been hesitant to announce firm dates for relaxing restrictions amid a still-high infection rate in Italy and a relatively slow vaccine rollout.

You can find the current Italian government travel information for your country here.

Find all our latest news updates on travel to, from and within Italy here.

Member comments

  1. I’m confused ??? We have just come out of lockdowns and restrictions, hardly anyone is vaccinated, It was reported only last week that Italy had rang out of vaccines yet we are welcoming visitors with open arms???? What am I missing???

  2. What does that mean? Does that mean people from the USA can go to Italy in early June or even late May? Why don’t they give dates and clarity?

  3. I’m very happy to see this news. We’ve postponed two trips in the last while. We’ve been vaccinated in Canada, follow all rules and are sensible when out in public, with social distancing always being practiced. More news to clarify the details will follow I’m sure. But thank you to the Italian government for putting their intent out there for us to consider.

  4. “Italy’s tourism minister confirmed on Wednesday that the passes could be used by travellers from outside Europe, including from the US and UK.”

    Does this also mean from Canada? Is there an official list that has been posted somewhere of all the countries that
    will be allowed to travel for non-essential reasons?

    1. Hi, no further details have been given yet, although (as the article states) the tourism minister said: “It is valid for everyone, also and above all for tourists from outside the EU”.

  5. Short version: “We’re tired of being broke, so we’re going to try the honor system.” Which is fine by me, and US/UK coming in are almost certainly vaccinated, which is more than we can say here…

  6. What about people who live in Hong Kong and Singapore and are vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines?

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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