Covid-free islands are going to be the most coveted destinations for holidays and incentive travel in 2021. As the summer draws near and regulations shift according to each country’s respective pandemic situation, the travel industry is finding new ways of going back to work and collaborating with local institutions and healthcare professionals to ensure everyone’s safety at all times. As Italy vaccinates its elderly population and plans to immunise other groups in the coming months, the idea of Covid-free islands is getting more and more traction. Will you be visiting one this year?
Why Covid-free islands are a good idea
One of the first countries to get the pandemic under control was New Zealand. While it is certainly true that they adopted scrupulous lockdown and social distancing policies early on, it is also true that the country’s geography played a vital role in helping the government contain the spread of the virus. Islands, particularly small ones, are easier to control than the mainland and contact tracing works better on smaller groups, hence the appeal of Covid-free islands ad ideal holiday destinations for 2021.
Covid-free islands in Italy
Italy’s smaller islands are set to become Covid-free soon and subsequently reopen to national and international travellers. Capri, Ischia, and Sorrento, off the coast of Campania, will be among the first to enter this new programme, followed by the Aeolian and Aegadian Islands, the Pontine Islands, Elba, and Giglio. At a later stage, it will be possible to work on making the whole of Sicily and Sardinia Covid-free. Immunising the whole population of each island will allow businesses to reopen and life to go back to as close an idea of “normality” as it is possible to attain under the present circumstances. The idea is to make individual destinations safe, in order to allow the tourism industry to restart. In order to make the experience entirely safe, of course, all travellers entering the islands will have to get tested beforehand.
Is it really possible to free an entire island of Covid in time for the summer?
In Campania, the first attempt at creating Covid-free islands is being conducted by planning mass vaccinations for the population and seasonal workers of Ischia, Procida, and Capri. This will allow both the residents and the staff of the islands’ hotels and restaurants to welcome tourists safely, without any risks to their respective health. The islands off the coast of Sorrento will follow. The situation in Sicily and Sardinia is more complex, as the main islands are obviously too large and populated to allow for quick vaccination campaigns and the number of smaller islands that surround them requires a much more complex vaccination plan.
Planning your incentive trip to a Covid-free island in Italy
If you are planning to travel to a Covid-free island this year, you should check with your local authorities first and get up to date with any regulations that might apply to air travel in your area. While Covid-free islands will not require travellers who can provide a negative test result to quarantine, you might still have to self-isolate once you get back home. If you have been vaccinated, things might be even easier for you, as some European countries, such as Germany, are lifting restrictions on those who have received full immunisation. Even if that’s the case, however, do not forget to pack your hand sanitiser and face masks, as the latter are still compulsory in public places in most of Europe.