The Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has revealed on Tuesday that the country is prepared to welcome back tourists from other European Union countries as he confirmed the launch of a “green pass” that is expected to be fully functional by mid-May.
“Waiting for the European Certificate … we have a national green pass that will enable people to move from region to region and will be operational by mid-May, so let us not wait until mid-June for the EU pass,” Draghi said.
The Italian authorities did not provide any details on how the national pass will work. Still, it is likely to require the travellers to provide proof of vaccination, immunity against the virus, or a recent negative COVID-19 test result, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
However, it was not mentioned whether the pass will be extended to allow arrivals from countries outside the EU and Schengen Area countries.
In contrast, several ministers have claimed that the country wants to allow entry for visitors outside of the EU as well during this summer, but no particular date or official announcement has been made regarding the resumption of non-EU tourism.
As a result, the European Commission has suggested that Member States start to open the borders for vaccinated third country travellers who wish to enter the EU or Schengen Area for non-essential purposes.
The Commission’s proposal has been sent to the Member States on May 3, one month before the anticipated launch of the EU COVID-19 Certificate, through which the EU authorities plan to restore travel within the bloc at the earliest possible date.
Despite that, travel from EU countries remains possible under the travel restrictions of Italy but is highly discouraged by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which recommends that everyone avoids non-essential travel.
Additionally, all persons arriving from any EU country must self-isolate for five days and undergo two COVID-19 tests when entering Italy’s territory.
Nevertheless, with the introduction of the national travel pass, the entry restrictions are likely to be dropped when the measures cease to be effective on May 15.
Based on the World Travel and Tourism Council figures, Italy’s travel and tourism sector has lost around €120.6 billion due to the imposed restrictions, which marked a 51 per cent decrease in the country’s overall gross domestic product in 2020.
Italy has fully vaccinated around 11 per cent of its population and has become the first country in Europe to require COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers.
Worldometers data shows that up to this date, Italy has registered a total of 4,059,821 Coronavirus cases, 121,738 deaths, and it currently numbers 413,889 cases