What does Italian tourism look like in 2022

Everything you need to know about 2022 tourism in Italy

It’s no secret that the pandemic has thrown a huge wrench in the travel industry – for better and for worse. While limiting and restricting international travel has been a way of trying to control the spread of covid-19, the tourism industry and the countless cities and countries it supports have suffered.

Near the top of the list is Italy, a country whose economy relies heavily on tourism. Countless would-be travelers and tourists to Italy have postponed their travel plans in 2020 and 2021. Now, as the world enters the third year of the pandemic, many are asking: what now? Should I visit Italy in 2022? And given the current pandemic restrictions, is Italy worth visiting in 2022?

What has been the impact of the pandemic on tourism in Italy?

Since 1999, tourism and travel in Italy have represented between 10 and 15% of the national gross domestic product (GDP), a significant part of the national income. According to Statista, since 2010, this number has been steadily increasing.. But in 2020, it has fallen to just 7%. Such a dramatic change in tourism and travel-related activities had a massive negative economic impact – Italy brought in more than €100 billion less in 2020 than in 2019. There had been hope for recovery in 2021, but new variants of Covid-19 and subsequent restrictions caused a second year of severe economic losses.

“The pandemic has been devastating for our sector”, says Antonio Barreca, general manager of Federturismo, the Italian Travel and Tourism Industry Association, “but also for the transport sector and all the chains that serve the tourism industry, such as food and drink and fashion… The impact has been enormous. We have estimated 150 billion euros in damage between 2020 and 2021.”

There was a partial rebound in tourism in 2021 thanks to domestic tourism not being able to travel overseas, but the year ended with an estimated 50-80% loss. For tour operators, Barreca says, that number was up to 90%.

What are the Covid-19 mandates and travel restrictions for Italy in 2022?

Compared to the US, whose state-to-state mask mandates and gathering restrictions vary in severity but are more or less followed based on individual judgement, and the UK, where restrictions on Covid-19 have recently been lifted, Italy’s current mandates may seem strict. Surgical masks or FFP2 masks (the Italian equivalent of KN95 and N95) are mandatory indoors and in congested outdoor public spaces.

Many companies have capacity limits, and a person must present proof of recent vaccination or a recent booster in the form of an official international vaccination card, Italian ‘Super Green Pass’ or proof of a recent negative Covid test before entering most establishments and tourist sites. However, some of these restrictions are slowly disappearing.

On February 23, the Italian government announced that Covid-19 mandates and travel restrictions will be relaxed from March 1, creating a real sense of hope for the tourism industry. More radically, from March 1, vaccinated non-EU travelers will be able to enter Italy without providing a negative Covid test, provided they are vaccinated with one of the EU-approved vaccines.

People not vaccinated or vaccinated with vaccines not approved by the EU must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test or a recent recovery certificate on entry, but will no longer be required to quarantine. While indoor mask mandates will remain in place, the Super Green Pass system will be phased out. So far, there are no concrete dates on the elimination schedule. The official end of the state of emergency in Italy is March 31.

What will tourism in Italy look like in 2022?

According to Antonio Barreca, general manager of Federturismo, for those involved in the tourism sector, spring/summer 2022 is the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. He describes that, according to new studies on the United States domestic market, Italy is currently the number one travel destination for people from the United States, Germany and Australia.

“We are hoping for a comeback in 2022, bigger than in 2019,” he says. “People have saved money over the past two years, so now they’re ready to come back and spend it.”

Barreca calls this phenomenon “revenge tourism”: people resent the good times the pandemic kept them from having, and now that things seem (finally) back to normal, people are ready to get out and have fun like crazy. Young tourists are expected to be at the forefront of this movement, constituting the first wave of tourists to reach Italy in 2022, while older ones remain wary of Covid.

The tourism sector also expects a sea change in the culture of tourism. In 2022, people are more attentive to the quality and depth of their time and experiences, having spent so much time indoors and in isolation during the pandemic. Instead of focusing on traditional tourism experiences, tourism industry experts predict that in 2022, tourists will also be looking for rich and unique experiences. small towns, Borghiare going to be at the heart of this change.

“This new type of tourist will be more attentive to the quality of service and experience – more interested in visiting new experiences, lesser-known places, small villages – in search of an “authentic” tourist experience”, explains Barreca.

Despite the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Covid-19 prevention will remain at the heart of tourism businesses and facilities. the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) describes specific protocols for different types of organizations, from businesses to transportation systems. “We invested a lot of money in these protocols,” Barreca says. “It was very hard work. Each category needs specific protocols – what works for a hotel doesn’t work for a train.

Barreca, like Italians from all economic sectors, welcomes the return of tourism to Italy. Not only will this bring economic rehabilitation, but it will also bring renewed excitement and energy to the country as a whole – something many Italians have missed since the pre-pandemic days.

“After two years,” Barreca says, “we’re very excited.”

An opportunity before the tourist season to see a surprising view of Italy

The lack of tourism in Italy from 2020 to 2021 has transformed the landscapes of many cities traditionally focused on tourism. In a surprisingly surreal twist to anyone who has visited a tourist-heavy Italian city before the pandemic, Italy today seems, quite frankly, Italian. In February 2022, there is still an overwhelming feeling in restaurants, shops and busy squares that the majority of people are Italian.

For example, in Rome’s popular tourist sites, such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Trevi Fountain, Romans and Italians from other cities and regions have returned to appreciate the magnificent monuments that were once crowded with international tourists. Before the start of the tourist season in May 2022, travelers have the opportunity to discover Italy alongside Italians, while contributing to economic rehabilitation.

An American point of view

Before coming to Rome for a quick vacation in January 2022, Seattle-based bartender and kitchen supervisor Joya Lawrence feared Italy’s Covid-19 restrictions would negatively affect her trip. Instead, upon arriving in Italy, she was pleasantly surprised at how safe she felt.

“I found that really responsible,” she says. “In a way, it was more forgiving than I thought. Of course, you have to wear a mask and show your vaccination record, but as I had these things, I found it really responsible.

It was a stark contrast to her life in Seattle, where she feels a lot of people aren’t taking Covid-19 seriously. After returning to the United States, she was more worried about catching Covid-19 while visiting one of her friends than she had been during her entire vacation in Rome.

Despite Italy’s mask mandate and Super Green Pass system, Lawrence enjoyed his 2022 trip more than a previous pre-Covid visit to Rome.

“I felt less like a tourist and more like an observer,” she says. “Like I’m not going for a quick visit but can take my time with things.”

She didn’t feel the familiar tourist pressure of visiting popular sites on “holidays” to avoid the crowds — there weren’t large crowds. She visited the Sistine Chapel on a Saturday and was able to follow a travel guide by Rick Steves who suggested she experience the chapel from the center “if possible”. When she visited the Aventine Keyhole, a popular tourist spot that normally sees a long line of tourists each day, she only had to wait behind two other people before taking her turn.

The only hitch to Lawrence’s trip came because of his US vaccination card. She and her friend were turned away from a restaurant because they did not have digital proof of vaccination with a QR code. European vaccination passes, such as green passes and Italian super passes, have a scannable QR code that contains a person’s vaccine information. While most restaurants and establishments accept official CDC-verified US vaccination cards instead of a QR code, some (rare) establishments only accept digital proof. Just in case, American tourists may want to call establishments ahead of time or check their Covid-19 regulations online to be sure.

Lawrence recommends visiting Italy in 2022 for those who are respectful, responsible and interested in getting a glimpse of art, culture and history: “You can do whatever you want to do,” says- her, “just be responsible.”

About Juana Jackson

Check Also

Saudi Man Charged After Maserati Rolls Down Rome’s Spanish Steps

Roma (CNN) — In Rome, don’t drive your fancy sports car up the historic stairs. …