As Italy prepares to loosen its lockdown restrictions in the coming months, specific regions are also employing strategies to recover from the recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to reports, the island of Sicily in particular is promising to pay for part of the tourism costs of its future incoming visitors. This includes putting huge discounts on flights, hotel accommodations, and free tickets to various museums and archeological sites, all while maintaining strict social distancing rules. Vouchers will be made available later in the year on the Visit Sicily website once the country reopens.
An article by Timeout reveals that the program will cost its government around €50 million if only to recover from losing an estimated tourism revenue of €1 billion since the lockdown began last March 9. Tourism accounts for 13% of Italy’s overall GDP.
The country is gearing up to relax its lockdown measure by May 4 after recently recording it lowest number of new cases in seven weeks. The BBC writes, “Authorities now believe the contagion rate—the amount of people each person with the virus infects—is low enough to justify a cautious easing of curbs.”
Steps towards reopening Italy have so far come in the form of allowing restaurants to start up operations once again for takeout. Meanwhile, retail shops, museums, and libraries, may reopen on May 18 as locals are allowed to move around their respective regions. Traveling from one region to another is still prohibited.
As of writing, Italy's confirmed cases is at 199,414, with 66,624 recoveries and 26,977 deaths.
Apart from Italy, other countries like Spain and Switzerland are also considering loosening up their quarantine restrictions.
That said, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States continues to greatly discourage non-essential travel with experts unable to guarantee when the pandemic will come to an end.
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