Curious about traveling to a tiny Italian island this summer? In an effort to deal with the impact of the corona virus in the summer, the country is now trying to immunize a number of holiday destinations from Covid-19, starting from its small islands.
Follow the example Greece – which has vaccinated the entire population of most of the island – Italy has only recently started dialogue with the mayor to ensure that the conditions for a fully functional and safe summer are met.
The first region to start working on enhanced Covid-19 action on the tourist islands is Naples Campania. In particular, at Procida (Italian Capital of Culture by 2022), Capri and Ischia, special priority protocols – which require mass vaccination of local residents, regardless of age – are put in place so that the islands can start welcoming tourists as soon as possible.
The national expansion plan is already in the minds of the government. According to the Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia, working in this way makes it possible to launch the tourist season in early June. “President Biden and President Macron said they are arranging a reopening based on their national holidays, July 4 and July 14. Our Republic Day falls on June 2, ”he said in an interview with the daily newspaper Messenger.
Francesco Forgione, mayor of the Egadi Islands (comprising the islands of Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo) commented: “I think we need courage and foresight. Italy must behave like Greece, and Sicily must take action. “Forgione was also the first mayor write a letter to the head of national vaccination strategy Francesco Figliuolo, asking him to prioritize small islands in the vaccination campaign. “Here, Federalberghi [the national hotels’ association] asking tourism workers to be the first to get the vaccine. However, on small islands there is no difference between tourism workers and other residents. This applies to the islands of Egadi, but also to the Aeolian Islands, Pantelleria, Lampedusa, Linosa and Ustica. I believe that all the small islands in Italy have this belief, “he added.
While news of potential immunity has been welcomed by those directly involved at the local level, in reality the idea of a vaccination campaign differentiated by tourist value has also drawn criticism. In Campania, for example, residents and mayors from various tourist areas pointy fingers on the Regional Government’s decision to implement a strategy that prioritizes certain destinations over others. Luigi de Magistris, The Mayor of Naples, commented: “It is the government that has to tell us what people’s priorities are with regard to vaccination. It can’t be a Regional Governor to decide whether Capri, Ischia and Procida should leave first, then followed by Amalfi and Sorrento, then maybe Pozzuoli and Napoli. ”
Responding to the controversy, Fulvio Bonavitacola, Vice President of Campania, explained: “Capri, Ischia, Procida and the entire Campania coast means working for tens of thousands of workers who are among the hardest hit. [categories] during this year. “But while this problem is far from being resolved, the government appears serious in its intention of finding sustainable solutions for tourism during the summer.” Tourism, like any economic activity, is dependent on expectations as well as planning. Reopening bars, hotels or tourist resorts is a must. “That’s why we need to set a date as soon as possible, depending on how the pandemic happened,” said Tourism Minister Garavaglia.
In Italy, tourism represents 13% of the national GDP, a very important percentage in specific tourism destinations, where summer is essential for economic survival. After the winter’s gone and a new lock in the early spring that had increasingly suppressed commercial activity, many were now pressing the government to open up. Over the past few days, cities like Milan and Rome have seen it protest by restaurant owners and sellers, who in some cases turn violent. But while bad taste over the prolonged closure is evident in the country, the government has no intention of speeding up the process in vain: “[For reopenings] We don’t have a date yet, we are considering it, it all depends on how the transmission trend and vaccines are, “the prime minister Mario Draghi said in the press conference.
With an average of 18,000 new cases per day and 500 deaths, Italy’s conditions of contagion are improving, even though the country is still not out of danger. According to national authorities, the coming months will be critical to getting enough people vaccinated and raising public opinion. While the holiday period has been established, the country also aims to be able to welcome tourists from abroad. Garavaglia concluded: “I hope with the steps we are taking and when we will get a re-opening date, foreign tourists will come too. For now, I know that Americans are ordering for August. I also know that from England they are watching the vaccination campaign on the islands. May we return to hearing languages from around the world soon ”.