What we’d do to be nibbling aperitivi in a Sicilian piazza right now. Your own country’s travel restrictions allowing, the Italian island is offering a major incentive for all those who visit in the coming months. In a move to reboot its tourism sector, the regional government has confirmed that it will cover a third (one in three nights) of visitor’s hotel expenses, as well as entry to attractions on the island.
Sicily has lost upwards of €1 billion in tourism-related revenue since Italy shut down on March 10, and, as a reaction, island authorities are to offer discounts on hotel stays, as well as free tickets to all its many museums and archaeological sites. The discounts will also apply to ‘non-hotel accommodation facilities, agriturismi (farm stays), travel agencies, tour operators [and] registered tour guides’, according to The Local. The ‘See Sicily’ voucher scheme is costing the island a fair amount, which it hopes to recoup quickly as tourists book cheap post-lockdown breaks.
‘€75 million has been allocated for the advance purchase by the region of vouchers and cards to be distributed, for promotional purposes, to tourists, once the health emergency has ceased,’ the island’s local authority has said.
Originally, the scheme was slated to only apply to travellers visiting Sicily in autumn 2020, but authorities are now saying it ‘could run until December 2021’. It was also originally said to cover flights to the Italian destination too, though that is no longer part of the plan.
The vouchers aren’t available yet, but will be available on the Visit Sicily website ‘soon’.
For crystal-clear waters, picturesque hikes and to-die-for antipasti, there are few places better than Sicily. And if your quaran-diet had you eating ice cream for breakfast, you’ll be pleased to hear that this is one place where it’s perfectly normal. See you in Palermo!