Sicily, one of Italy’s 20 regions and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, has come up with a scheme to lure tourists to its dazzling shores. After losing an estimated $2 billion between March and April due to a lack of tourists, the region is planning to spend nearly $85 million in an attempt to reboot both the tourism industry and the economy.
Sicily currently has the lowest rate of contagion in the country and continues to enforce strict health and safety measures. Tourists treading on the side of caution though can be forgiven, especially when considering how hard the was hit by COVID-19. While approximately 34,634 Italians have died of the coronavirus, which hit the country hardest during March and April, just 280 of them were from Sicily.
So, here’s the plan. For every tourist willing to visit Sicily after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the regional government will pay for one in every three nights in a hotel, all your tickets to museums and archaeological sites and half of your airfares.
If that alone doesn’t persuade you, consider the extensive measures Sicily is putting in place to keep tourists and residents safe. The local government is releasing a free web app for tourists called SiciliasiCura, linking them to health services when in need. Between 8 June and 30 September, any non-resident arriving on the island must download the free app, subscribe to siciliasicura.com and complete the online form.
Tourist facilities and operators are preparing to reopen by introducing and integrating a number of mandated health and safety measures. These include availability of hand sanitisers, wearing protective masks in shared spaces, social distancing and the use of thermo-scanners to detect body temperature in some cases.
Bars, resorts, shops, museums and archaeological parks are also preparing to reopen in accordance to these guidelines. Nightclubs, open-air cinemas and conference facilities will be slower to open as it’s more difficult to comply with social distancing regulations, Visit Sicily is confident they are working in the right direction. Public transport, however, may continue to operate with fewer services.
Is this a tempting offer? Would you consider visiting this Mediterranean paradise post-COVID?
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