Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio is appealing to Germans to shed their coronavirus fears and spend their holidays in Italy this summer.
Italy is planning to reopen to European tourists from early June and scrap a 14-day mandatory quarantine period as part of a phased exit from its coronavirus lockdown.
“Come and visit our beaches, our sea, our mountain villages, enjoy our cuisine. We are ready to welcome you with a smile,” Di Maio said in an interview with Germany’s leading Bild daily due to be published Wednesday.
The government enforced an economically crippling shutdown in early March to counter a pandemic that has so far killed more than 32,000 people in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world.
The shutdown halted all holidaymaking in a country heavily dependent on the tourism industry.
Di Maio said Italy was “ready to receive tourists from Europe with the necessary security”, citing a significant drop in coronavirus cases.
“From mid-June to September it will be possible to travel in Italy without any problems,” he said, adding that “clear health protocols are in place in the accommodation facilities”.
Germany still has a warning in force until mid-June against taking foreign holidays despite the easing of regulations among European partners.
But Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has indicated Germany will be prepared to ease the travel warning sooner for Europe than for other countries.
With the tourism sector reeling, the European Commission last week urged EU countries to gradually reopen shuttered internal borders and to treat each member state according to the same criteria.