Tourism at the Italian Riviera after Covid-19
Everyone has been wondering and speculating on travel in Italy after the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. World travel may still have restrictions and limitations during the summer months. No one knows what kind of national or international ordinance will be established for 2020 summer travel and tourism.
Italian tour operators and hospitality companies were jolted when Ursula Von der Leyen, German President of the European Commission made an announcement regarding 2020 summer plans, “I would recommend waiting [to plan]. Nobody can make reliable forecasts for July and August at the moment.”
Over 50% of tourists in Italy are foreign and in 2018, German guests to Italy hit an impressive 60 million nights booked making up 27.1% of international visitors according to Istat. This year, however, tourism in Italy will be greatly affected and travel agencies and local authorities are looking for ways on how to cope in preparation for a post COVID-19 holiday season.
In Emilia Romagna the regional councilor for tourism Andrea Corsini is already talking about “beach stewards” who will check that safe and healthy distances are respected between each sunbather implementing any anti-contagion measures that may be established.
In Rimini the idea of “sanitizing tunnels” has been proposed. They would be tunnels or passageways with sanitizing dispensers spraying disinfectant solutions.
Stefania Taras, Northern Sardinia councilor for tourism, proposes a “Manifesto of resilient Sardinia”. She explains, “The message, will be that safe and regenerating holidays are possible in Sardinia. The goal is to build a more attentive model that enhances the environment.”
On the Ligurian coast, the towns of Moneglia, Deiva Marina, Framura, Bonassola, Levanto, Vernazza and Riomaggiore have created Rivirus.it to help individuals and businesses in the Riviera di Levante area. Rivirus.it hopes to assist and propose ideas and solutions for those affected by both daily life challenges as well as business setbacks during the COVID19 virus crisis.
One company, Nuova Neon 2 of Modena has launched a new design idea in hopes of saving the Italian summer season. Nuova Neon 2 already make protective screens for banks, pharmacies and supermarkets, and have applied the same principal to making plexiglass boxes that could also be mounted on the beach to separate umbrellas and sunbeds that would create protective barriers without ruining the view.
Mauro Vanni, president of the Bagnini Rimini Sud Cooperative disagrees with the proposal, he said “Anyone who knows beach tourism knows very well that it is impossible to close a person in a plexiglass box under the summer sun when it’s 40° C.”
Some see the efforts of companies creating new “Covid-19 products” as purely taking advantage of a bad situation, others see it as a necessity to meet the new demands of the unforeseen changes that will affect our lives in the upcoming months.
Laura Sanvito, owner of a seaside holiday rental in Salento, Puglia says “I dread to think that everything will be different after all this. I’d like to think that things will go back to being the same, but that will not be the case. I’m all in favor of ethical and sustainable changes, over crowding is certainly a problem in some areas of Italy. Here in Puglia we are quite fortunate, the beaches are long and spread out, more than other Italian coasts. Lido establishments have more room to work with and on the public beaches families can find a private corner to lay a blanket and enjoy the day.”
FederBalneari and local organizations are launching other ideas. Mandatory reservations for beach beds and umbrellas may be introduced. They are also talking about periodically disinfecting the sand. A proposed distance between umbrellas of 14-16 square meters is being discussed. Children play areas will be closed and other beach sports may be discouraged.
As of yet there are no defined guidelines but be aware that traveling to Italy during the 2020 summer season may incur new regulations and distancing rules.