"Original German version" published by Bild
"Come on holiday to Italy!"
Good news for all those who still consider Italy their favourite summer holidays’ destination. On the eve of the critical EU summit among Ministers of Tourism on ‘summer holidays at the time of the Coronavirus’, the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, in the interview with BILD, said: “German tourists are welcome, and Italy will do everything possible to ensure that its guests ‘safety”.
Minister, Italy has gone through a challenging period; the whole world was looking at the terrible situation of the Coronavirus in Bergamo. Germany has occasionally been described as indifferent. Do you share this impression?
“We have faced a difficult time, but we are getting up. Today the number of contagions is falling, the model applied by the Government is also effective thanks to the Italians' great sense of responsibility. To date, in fact, in Valle D'Aosta and Calabria regions, the number of infections is zero. In 9 Italian Regions, the numbers of infection recorded are exceptionally low, less than 10 cases. In 7 Regions no death has been recorded. We were supported by many countries, like Germany, I and want to express my gratitude. I did not perceive indifference from Berlin; on the contrary, Germany has welcomed our patients in the most challenging moment of this emergency. A sincere thanks to Chancellor Angela Merkel and to my colleague Heiko Maas, whom I am always in contact.
Is your country ready to save the season for summer tourism?
Exactly, this is the point -Tourism, which for Italy represents 15 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. Every year we have millions of tourists from all over the world, but mainly from Germany. That is why I had a meeting on Monday with many Foreign Ministers, including Maas. To all of them, I remind that Italy is a transparent country; a healthy and strong country that is recovering. From June 3 will begin to allow free movement between the regions. Italians can already today go to the sea and the beach. This summer, we are also ready to welcome European tourists, obviously with the required safety measure. I have guaranteed Mr Maas and the other Ministers, that we are ready to provide each EU country with a weekly Region- by-Region report to give citizens all the information they need to come to Italy.
What would you like to say to German tourists, for whom Italy has always been a favourite destination?
My appeal is clear. From your newspaper let me address it to all German citizens: come and spend your holidays in Italy. Come and visit our beaches, our sea, our mountain communities, enjoy our cuisine. We are ready to welcome you with our smile. We all belong to the same people; we are the European people.
You have spoken out against a ‘blacklist’ for holidaymakers from certain countries and regions, why?
Because we believe that bilateral agreements are contrary to the EU spirit, and on this issue, I am pleased that Germany has also expressed our same position against tourist corridors based on bilateral agreements between individual EU countries. We are committed to removing some countries from our blacklist, of course on condition of reciprocity.
Are there restrictions for tourists, such as bathing bans?
As of 3 June, all kinds of restrictions will fall because the epidemiological curve and current numbers allow us to do so. You can go to the beach now. It will not be obligatory to wear the mask in the open air. Still, it will be necessary to maintain the social distance, so in all probability, the beaches will be less crowded. The sunbeds and umbrellas will be more spaced out, but everyone will be able to enjoy the beach.
Since when (which travel period) would you advise Germans to book a holiday in Italy?
From mid-June until September it will be possible to travel to Italy without problems, in safety and freedom. Our health facilities must be efficient; we have implemented a contagion tracking system and clear health protocols in the accommodation facilities.
Are you planning a holiday in Italy this summer, after probably the most difficult phase of your term at the Government?
I almost always spend my holidays in Italy. This year I will probably go back to my home region, Campania. And then I will go to Sardinia, my partner’s home region.