Italy insists it will reopen to tourists before the end of the year

ITALY is NOT going to close its borders to tourists until 2021, the tourism minister has refuted.

Previous claims warned that the country could stop travellers from visiting Italy until the end of the year.

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However, Italy's culture and tourism minister, Dario Franceschini slammed the predictions, explaining: "As is all too obvious, I have never spoken, nor ever thought, of closing the Italian borders to tourists for 2020."

According to local media, he added: "I am working on the exact opposite.

"I proposed yesterday at the meeting of tourism ministers of the European Union, a European uniformity of the safety rules with respect to the risk of contagion, allowing the free movement of tourists within the European Union.

"So we're starting bilateral talks with other countries that have a lot of tourism going to Italy."

The country has more than 221,000 cases of coronavirus, with 28,884 deaths.

Domestic tourism in Italy is expected by the summer months, while international tourism will come after this.

However, flights are not currently running to Italy, however, with carriers including easyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair stopping services until at least mid-June.

Hotels have also closed their doors, not due to restrictions but due to a lack of guests.

Venice hotel owner Sandro Ferrari told the Telegraph: "All my bookings till the end of June have been cancelled."

She added this year will be "difficult" with only five bookings in October.

The country has one of the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, and enforced one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe after it was dubbed the Western "epi-centre".

From today, more restrictions are being lifted after two months.

While some of the restrictions were lifted on April 14, with some shops reopening, there are three phases to restarting the Italian economy from today.

Building sites as well as the textile and fashion industry have reopened.

The week after, clothing, shoe and other shops are said to be allowed to raise the shutters, followed by bars, restaurants and hairdressers on May 18, which will have to keep a distance of one metre between customers.

Resorts in Italy are looking at new ways to continue social distancing when guests return.

A resort in Puglia is introducing roped-off areas and 1.5m distancing between loungers, as well as stopping bar queues for food and drink.

Another beach proposed "plexi-glass cubes" which were quickly shot down by local authorities.

Sicily is even offering to pay for half of your plane ticket, as well as a night at a hotel and your attraction entry fees in a bid to encourage tourists to return.


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