Italy plans to use a national COVID pass to lure travelers with the promise of a quarantine-free vacation starting in mid-May.
“The pandemic has forced us to temporarily close, but Italy is ready to welcome the world again,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at a press conference on Tuesday after a meeting of ministers of tourism of the G20, currently chaired by Italy.
Ministers from the world’s largest economies also agreed that “common international approaches to COVID-19 screening, vaccination, certification and information” should be pursued to enable the “lifting of inbound border restrictions and outgoing “as part of broader guidelines on the future of tourism.
Coordination is proving to be a key issue in lifting restrictions in the event of a pandemic and restarting travel. The EU is rushing to establish an EU-wide coronavirus pass by June, while tourism-dependent countries like Italy, Greece and Cyprus are rushing for their own measures.
Efforts are also being made to reopen Europe to travelers from countries like the United States, which do well on vaccinations but do not have an internationally recognized certificate. Other countries like Canada are also looking to re-authorize cross-border travel.
The EU’s digital green certificate will be “fully operational” from the second half of June and will allow tourists “to travel through countries without quarantine, provided they can prove that they have recovered from COVID -19, have been vaccinated or tested negative recently, ”Draghi said.
But he added that Italy is not waiting for the EU pass. From mid-May, tourists can get an Italian pass, he said. “So it is time for you to book your vacation in Italy. We look forward to welcoming you again soon.”
Italy not only wants to launch its green pass program early, but also to open it up to non-EU countries such as the US and UK, Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia said .
The launch of the Italian Green Pass in mid-May “will help us not to be competitively disadvantaged compared to other countries that already have the Green Pass,” he said.
The loss of foreign tourists last year cost Italy 28 billion euros, according to Garavaglia. Other countries with large tourism sectors have also felt the impact of the pandemic, with G20 ministers noting that last year tourist arrivals fell by nearly three-quarters, costing $ 62 million. jobs around the world.
“The recovery of travel and tourism is crucial for the global economic recovery,” they said in a joint statement.
The “Rome” guidelines on the future of tourism, which G20 ministers approved on Tuesday, highlight testing and vaccination certificates as a way to do “an individual biosecurity risk assessment” of travelers.
This would require “international standards on the type, timing, frequency and ease of testing and vaccinations needed,” reads the text.
In addition to safe mobility, the guidelines also cover other areas, including green and digital transitions in the tourism sector.
Negotiators from the Council of the EU and the European Parliament met for the first time on Monday to discuss digital green certificates. Parliament wants the pass to be used to lift additional travel restrictions such as quarantines, but member countries insist it should be at EU capitals.
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