What you need to know before you plan a holiday to Italy in 2021
Ready to go on vacation? What will the future of holidays and travel look like? Some measures may be temporary, but other improvements will be permanent, such as Health passports or insurance providing adequate coverage. New policies for aviation, shipping and vacation home rentals are only a few examples. The recovery of tourism will require a lot of creativity...and technology is doing its part in preparing the terrain.
The greatest barrier preventing our wanderlust to be rewarded by a quick tourism recovery is the absence of some uniformity in travel restrictions or flexibility between countries in Europe and, to a certain extent, global travel. The IATA - International Air Transport Association is currently testing a kind of "digital passport" for passengers that would show their vaccination status, health tests or other pertinent information that will be required in the future in addition to your standard passport. You would also be able to check what measures needed for travel to your destination and whether you are already in compliance with all applicable regulations. The IATA is quite optimistic about the course of vaccinations and expects that by 2021, passenger volumes will already be up to 50% of the 2019 pre-Covid levels.
Italian hotels are looking to have guests who wish to combine vacation with work, offering "smartworking" options for remote workers. And why not? There is definitely a positive side to staying in beautiful surroundings, even when you have to work away from the office anyway.That view from your own home will eventually get boring and a hotel can, of course, provide more in the way of amenities – such as a swimming pool, private beach or the opportunity to take a nice walk in nature. Just be sure to keep your Zoom background the same!
Nature reserves and parks in Italy - by appointment
Wherever you may be plotting your getaway, in Italy, there are various measures you should take into account, especially if you plan to visit any of their dozens of lush national parks. First off, the FederParchi (Parks Federation) asks you to make an online reservation for a stay. Face masks remain mandatory - at least for the time being - and excursions are allowed only with groups of fewer than 12 people. The National Parks of Gran Paradiso in Aosta, Stelvio (Lombardy / Trentino) and Pollini in Basilicata, are some of the most popular park destinations. We recommend you always consult the regulations prior to your visit for the latest updates. You can find them at http://www.parks.it.
There is clearly a growing demand for vacation rentals along the seaside, with people searching out the more remote locales, often located in a protected area, such as in the Tuscan archipelago or the Isole Maddalena in Sardinia. Visiting this type of area and especially on smaller islands – often quite a fragile ecological area – such as Pianosa or Montecristo should always be planned carefully. This means that you must already have pre-booked reservations for transportation and a reservation for your stay.
For reservations for the Tuscan archipelago, the islands of Capraia, Elba, Giannutri, Giglio, Gorgona, Montecristo and Pianosa, use this website: https://prenotazioni.islepark.it/. The National Park of Parco Maddelena offers tourist information via this link .
Explaining the color zones in Italy
Italy is divided into color zones, in an orange zone it is prohibited to move outside the city limits, in a yellow zone it is currently prohibited to travel outside the region, but this will be made easier by summer. Until April 30, the regional authorities have the final say and areas are still divided into white, yellow, orange and red. The Italian website governo.it provides most of the information at its FAQ page where you will also find a map with up-to-date rules of all region and color zones. If you want more information about the health measures you can visit the website of the Italian Health Service (Minestero della Salute) http://www.salute.gov.it. Remember that wearing a mask is still mandatory in Italy, fines range from 200 to 2000 euros.
These were the colors of the regions on 5/3/2021 :
- In the white area: Sardinia
- In the yellow area: Calabria, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Puglia, Sicilia, Valle d'Aosta, Veneto
- In the orange area: Abruzzo, Campania, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Marche, Piedmont, Tuscany, Autonomous Province of Bolzano
Testing can be done at various places, such as airports, but also at private medical laboratories which can be found everywhere, it can be done 24 or 48 hours in advance and 4 hours in advance at international airports. The price of a test varies from €20 to €100, so ask in advance what the costs are.
Want to know what your personal precautions are before you travel to Italy, then there is a special website in English for that purpose
Lodging in Italy
In recent years, the hospitality industry has been using hi-tech for the check-in process. The latest developments due to the pandemic are to speed up the process of reservation and check-in by virtual helpers, robots, and make it more personal: the new apps connect the different rooms in the hotel. Rooms, for example, will become more and more hyper-connected to enable remote working and video conferencing. There will be areas with interactive desks in a communal environment that intertwine co-working and relaxation, at the bar and in the restaurant 24/7, also taking meals in your room will be upgraded.
Everything is tailor-made for a working vacation. Hotels today are increasingly focused on the meeting industry that needs inter-conference facilities. From this point of view, 5G is critical.
We are also seeing improvements in alternative accommodation options for 'short stays'. With organizations such as AirBnB and private rentals, it should be ensured that the quality and range of wifi is optimal, pricing becomes dependent on location and season, also it has to be clearly stated how refunds and last minute changes of dates for accommodation can be made possible. In addition, it is suggested that operators inform the guest about where, when and how hygiene and cleaning are applied.
At the airport in Italy
Airports in Italy were the first to be affected by the control of the pandemic. Temperature screening, limited capacity shuttles and closing at night to perform sanitary operations became the new norm. But that was just the beginning.
There are ongoing studies on how best to guide the flow of passengers as they enter the airport, making it easier to measure body temperature and check the wearing of masks.
How does check-in and check-out work at Italian airports?
There will be at least several walkways that will take those who are in transit to the correct gates and separate them from those who are departing. You will be able to find disinfectant gel everywhere that are ´touchless´ to operate and masks are also available everywhere, these sanitation stations are serviced every 10 minutes. The goal is to create a smooth, seemingly non-stop, route where all checks can be done contactless without the use of paper travel documents, this will certainly continue in the future, even after the pandemic. If you want to know more check out the Leonardo da Vinci Rome Airport website for a handbook on the ins and outs of getting around at the airport: https://www.adr.it/it/web/guest/coronavirus
Baggage - The Self Bag Drop at Airports
Currently, so-called faceboarding is being tested. You register yourself with a scan of your ID and when boarding you simply walk past a camera. In addition, the " self bag drops " will be put into service, at Milan Malpenza starting at the end of March and at Milan Linate in April, the devices will manage luggage this summer without ground staff, just a boarding pass on your smartphone.
At Linate, X-ray detectors are already in place for checking hand luggage. The Tac technology devices scan in 3D, detecting dangerous objects and explosive materials, allowing your bag to stay closed, the computer to stay in place and eliminating the need to throw away your water bottle before walking through the gate.
The latest novelty involves an antiviral coating being experimented with that reduces viral contamination by 90% in ten minutes. At Linate, starting in April, it would be used on the most frequently used surfaces, such as the handles of luggage carts and supports in the ground transport coaches.
At Malpensa, a permanent testing point was put into operation for mandatory tests for passengers arriving from high-risk countries. These tests allowed the first corona-free flights from Milan Linate to Rome. They involve a molecular test 72 hours before departure and a rapid test just before and after disembarkation, to avoid quarantine on arrival.
Fiumicino was the first European airport to test for Covid on flights to the U.S. and plans to extend this to flights to other destinations such as Japan. The requirement to wear a mask or FPP2 during the flight will, of course, remain in place, except while consuming meals offered in individual and sealed servings. The air ventilation system is purified by HEPA filters.
Modifying or canceling your trip or accommodation
For many, however, there is still the fear of buying a ticket that may not be able to be changed. This is why low-cost airlines have introduced free booking changes. Ryanair has extended the cancellation fee for changing a flight for those who booked before March 31 and now allows you to change a trip twice until October 31 without penalty. EasyJet's ´flex guarantee´ allows you to change your flight up to 14 days before departure without a surcharge. In all cases, please read the cancellation and modification rules carefully of the airline concerned.
- Written by Nelleke Pruijs from Genoa (LI Italy) With a career as a tour operator and specialist of Italy behind her, she has been involved from the beginning in the web portal Dolcevia.com, she writes about known and unknown destinations in all regions of Italy and as a lover of Italian cuisine she also manages the recipe book and writes with passion about the origin of regional dishes and ingredients. After 5 years in Rome, she recently moved to Genoa in Liguria where she now delves into the secrets that this region still holds. Nelleke was born and grew up in the Netherlands. Visit my website