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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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For members

TRAVEL NEWS

Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels to discuss the latest Covid situation in China - so could this mark the return of vaccine passports and travel restrictions?

Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Several EU countries including France, Italy and Spain (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) have already imposed travel restrictions on arrivals from China, over fears of new variants of Covid-19.

The countries announced their restrictions – mostly amounting to compulsory tests and masks – on a unilateral basis at the end of last week, but there have been calls for greater co-ordination at an EU level.

There is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures, with an insider telling Politico: “The idea is to harmonise, but without being extremely prescriptive.”

The meeting has been called by Sweden, which now holds the rotating presidency of the EU. 

So what measures are likely?

At present the countries that have announced restrictions have only imposed testing and mask rules – there is no requirement to show proof of vaccination and no travel bans. All measures only apply only to travellers from China.

A meeting of the European Health Safety Committee last Thursday did not produce any concrete measures, with EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides merely urging member states to coordinate quickly. It was after this that some countries announced their own restrictions.

If anything more concrete comes out of Wednesday’s meeting, it is likely to refer to testing or mask rules only and like the previous EU Covid travel policies, will be advisory for countries to follow.

Because borders are a national competence, countries can impose their own measures without having to consult the EU.

Despite the introduction of the EU digital vaccine passport, countries never managed to entirely co-ordinate their travel rules during 2020 and 2021.

In most EU countries the health pass or vaccine pass apps remain active, and could be used again if necessary. 

Will there be travel bans?

At this stage more draconian restrictions – such as the ‘red lists’ or ‘essential travel only’ rules of 2021 seem unlikely.

Most EU countries have a high level of vaccine cover, so would probably only resort to travel restrictions if new variants – against which current Covid vaccines are not effective – emergence in China (or any other country).  

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