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Italy’s green pass ‘will be valid for US and UK visitors’, says tourism minister

Italy's new Covid-19 green pass for travel this summer will be valid for non-EU citizens, tourism minister Massimo Garavaglia said on Wednesday.

Italy’s green pass ‘will be valid for US and UK visitors’, says tourism minister
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

“It is valid for everyone, also and above all for tourists from outside the EU”, Garavaglia told news channel Sky TG24, answering a question about the Italian travel pass announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

“All you need is a simple piece of paper certifying that you respect the rules,” and proof that 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.

READ ALSO: ‘Green pass’: How to get Italy’s coronavirus immunity card for travel

There was confusion about what the pass would require and who could use it after Draghi announced on Tuesday that the scheme would be launched from mid-May.

Garavaglia insisted however that Draghi’s announcement “was very clear”.

Italy’s travel pass will be launched a month before the country plans to adopt the EU-wide version, Draghi said.

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.

Italy has until now been hesitant to announce firm dates for relaxing restrictions amid a still-high infection rate in Italy and a relatively slow vaccine rollout.

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

Garavaglia noted that the UK and US markets together account for some 30% of foreign tourism in Italy, and that these were among the highest-spending tourists.

READ ALSO: Who can travel to Italy right now?

“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 on Tuesday.

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

Italian tourism businesses have reported a recent surge in bookings, particlarly from the UK and US, in recent weeks. 

“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,” said Stefano Bettanin, the president of Property Managers Italia.

The rules on travel to Italy from the US, UK and other countries from mid-May however will also depend on those countries’ governments.

The US currently has a Level 4 ‘Do not travel’ warning in place for Italy, while the UK is set to announce whether Italy will be on its ‘green list’ allowing quarantine-free travel from May 17th.

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

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TRAVEL NEWS

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.”

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