On June 3rd, Italy has reopened its borders to international travellers coming from EU countries and repealed the compulsory 2-week quarantine period. This measure aims to encourage tourism ahead of the summer season, in an attempt to support all the businesses that depend on international tourists to survive. The borders, however, remain closed to travellers coming from countries outside the European Union, for the time being. Travel between regions has also resumed. As the pandemic abates in Europe, the tourism industry is confident business can resume and find the much-discussed “new normal”: a sustainable and safe way of exploring that will preserve both our collective health and that of the planet. And, once again, Italy is the perfect destination.
Why tourism should restart from Italy
Air travel has been hit hard by the pandemic, which might drive plane fares up over the coming years, as airlines scramble to cut their losses. This means most holidaymakers will have to limit their flights. In this scenario, Italy offers the maximum variety of landscape and architecture within the shortest distance. When visiting Italy, you can span the equivalent of a continent in just a few hours, going from seaside villages to snowy peaks, from majestic archaeological sites to the wild nightlife of a modern city, from deserts to waterfalls. Italy is also coming out of this crisis having learned a few lessons on sustainable tourism.
Cultural sites reopen with new safety measures
The archaeological sites of Paestum and Velia were among the first places to welcome visitors after the lockdown. All the necessary precautions have been taken to ensure the protection of visitors, and the reorganisation that preceded the reopening focused strongly on inclusion and accessibility. A limited number of visitors are allowed in at any one time, everyone has their temperature taken at the entrance, and the use of masks and hand-sanitising gel is mandatory. Gel dispensers are positioned along the route and made available to all tourists to ensure hand hygiene. Visits can only be conducted following fixed routes, designed to prevent clusters of people from forming. Sound alerts will signal any violation of social distancing to both visitors and staff. Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online, booking time slots for each visit.
Sustainable & Safe: tourism in Tuscany starts again
Visits have also resumed in the Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, whose most famous island is Montecristo. Parks and protected areas were accessible at the end of May since outdoor activities are deemed safer and easier to manage while keeping up social distancing. The National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago was one of the first to reopen and it is now offering a new model of sustainable tourism, hoping to promote awareness and eco-friendly lifestyles. Visitors will have access to a vast network of routes across the islands, going from beaches to mountains, from hills to villages, as well as snorkeling and scuba diving excursions to admire the unique biodiversity of this archipelago.
Once in a lifetime chance
This is the one chance we will get, during our lifetime, of reimagining a whole industry from scratch. Tourism has come to a halt across the planet and is now slowly starting again. This means we get to correct our path, to scrap off all the practices that were unsustainable or harmful to the planet in any way and to swap them for new and more sustainable ways of exploring our environment. Let’s make the best possible use of this once-in-a-lifetime chance!