After three months of coronavirus lockdown that has devastated the economy, Italy has reopened its borders to most EU nations and the UK.
June 3 saw Italy welcome visitors from the Schengen Zone and Britain, while restrictions on other EU nations are due to be lifted on June 15.
Italy is desperate to set its crippled economy back in motion, in particular the tourism sector. Tourism accounts for 13 per cent of the country’s GDP.
“Our goal is to show everyone that Italy is ready to welcome foreign tourists with safety and maximum transparency,” the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio posted on social media.
“Welcoming tourists means setting our economy in motion. It provides opportunities for traders, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and hotel owners to work,” he added.
On Wednesday, Italians were also allowed to resume travel between all regions in the country.
Many of Italy’s most famed cultural attractions have reopened, such as the Colosseum in Rome and the Pompeii archeological park, but tourists will have to follow some key precautions.
At the Colosseum, visitors are required to book in advance, have their temperature checked, and wear a mask.
Despite the border reopenings, it looks like Italy will have to entice its visitors back, as other European nations see Italy’s opening of borders as premature.
Germany and France are looking to open their borders on June 15, while Austria has removed border checks for its neighbouring countries apart from Italy, due to concerns about the continuing number of Covid-19 cases.
Italy has now had over 233,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 33,500 deaths.