Life & Leisure

Venice ready to welcome tourists back, regional leader says

Rome, May 20 (efe-epa).- Veneto, home to one of Italy’s most iconic destinations, Venice, has launched a campaign to attract tourists back to its waterways and canals, which have been deserted for months during the coronavirus lockdown in the country.

“Tourists in Veneto will feel more comfortable than at home,” Luca Zaia, the regional president  of the northeastern Italian region, said during a video press conference.

According to the politician, it is the most-visited area in Italy, a country that attracts more than 60 million tourists a year, contributing to a turnover of almost 58 billion euros, according to the national statistics office.

Zaia said the city of Venice had experienced a “horrible season, between the high-waters (the extraordinarily high tides that flooded much of the city in November last year) and the coronavirus”.

He added that the city was also ready to welcome tourists back and that he would study a way to get the industry back on its feet with a reservation system.

“The first people who want to protect Venice are its mayor, its citizens, most of all the Venetians.”

Veneto’s president has an approval rating of around 90 percent, according to a poll conducted recently in the local Il Gazzettino newspaper, much of it down to his handling of the pandemic and his support for massive testing.

Zaia said anyone who wanted to visit the region would be guaranteed “Covid-19 free” vacations, adding that the infection rate was down to R0.4 and that there had not been any new ICU admissions in several weeks.

He nonetheless expressed his concern over recent images showing groups of young people drinking in bars without wearing masks.

“We have to understand now that the people are the real treatment against the coronavirus,” the president added.

“If the figures start to increase, fresh closures will be inevitable.”

Zaia said he was optimistic about the summer tourist season and that he was just waiting for Italy to open its borders again.

The process of easing the lockdown in Italy has been delegated to regional leaders. EFE-EPA

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