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Sicily to subsidise post-Covid vacations as Italy thinks about reopening to travelers

Sicily’s local government is using to subsidise vacations on the island for both domestic and worldwide visitors in an effort to start tourism after the coronavirus pande
mic. News of the plan came days before a declaration from the Italian federal government that it expects borders to be available to tourists this summertime.

A financial pot of EUR75m of regional government money has actually been reserved to enhance tourism following substantial financial losses after the lockdown came into result throughout Italy on 10 March. Current strategies include subsidising visitors’ lodging costs, using one night of a three-night trip free of charge, or 2 nights of a six-day trip, along with coupons for cultural and heritage activities. The plans were detailed in an interview with Sicily’s tourism director, Manlio Messina, on Italian news program Mattino Cinque. There have actually been reports that the funding may also be utilized towards spending for as much as half of the cost of flights, however this has actually not yet been verified.

When the lockdown constraints have been successfully relieved further (without an increase in coronavirus cases), more information on how to benefit from the offers will be posted on the Sicilian traveler board site.

Quashing what he called “fake news” reports that Italy might be closed to holidaymakers for the rest of 2020, Dario Franceschini, Italy’s culture and tourist minister, told paper Il Messaggero: “I have never talked or ever thought of closing Italian borders to travelers for 2020. I am working towards the total opposite, and proposed yesterday at a meeting of EU tourist minsters a consistent method to handling infection dangers. We are also starting bilateral talks with other nations that send out a great deal of tourists to Italy.”

Tourist revenue fell by 95% in Italy in March, according to banking group UBS, and the national tourism agency is forecasting a EUR20bn drop in traveler costs for this year compared to last.

This week Italy got in stage two of its lockdown, consisting of the resuming of parks, and restaurants for takeaway meals. Some shops, museums and cultural locations are due to reopen on 18 Might, and there is much discussion about managing social distancing on beaches and producing area for more outside tables at restaurants.

Although he dismissed closing the border, Franceschini added a note of realism: “I think of, unfortunately, that global tourism will drop greatly this summertime– both inbound and outbound. So we are making a strong financial investment in domestic tourist, due to the fact that this will be a summer of vacations in Italy … You need to embrace the right balance between securing health and rebooting economic and social life. It needs to be finished with the utmost care. We’re moving one action at a time.”

Under the volcano: a trip of Etna and north-east Sicily
The little girl, worn a yellow satin bathrobe, stepped on to a crane and waved at the crowd below as she was hoisted on high. The crane stopped 20 metres in the air and the kid was assisted on to a metal seat on the side of a towering float topped with a crown and a cross. There she perched, a human design shining in the August heat, held in place simply by a bar around her waist. The crane slowly came down to pick up another kid.
An hour-and-a-half later on, the three-tier float was adorned with about 20 children. One of the youngest burst into tears midway up and was swiftly returned to his mother. A group of men grabbed a rope each, the tower lurched and swayed a little then began to move forward.

Messina, at the north-eastern tip of Sicily, and Randazzo, just north of Etna, are the only two towns on the island to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption in this way: with a three-tier float covered in blue satin and mirrors, representing the stages of Mary’s ascent to paradise. The tower is the emphasize for the children, for whom it is an honour to be selected, but also for visitors who happen upon this summertime spectacle. It is accompanied by marching bands and a carnival environment, with fantastic clouds of helium balloons on sale, crowds of mainly Italian tourists and regional citizens throwing sugary foods at the kids from their verandas.

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