Italy Scraps Covid Tests for Vaccinated Travellers on Tuesday
24th February 2022
Last modified on February 28th, 2022
It’s the last major European ski nation to require visitors from the UK to take pre-travel Covid-19 tests. PlanetSKI reacts from the ski slopes of Italy as the news is widely welcomed. UPDATED
The requirement will go on 1st March as the country falls into line with a new recommendation for all EU countries.
Italy currently insists fully vaccinated visitors have proof of a negative test for entry.
The current rules are for a PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel or an antigen test within 24 hours.
Visitors also have to fill in the EU locator form.
The requirement for a test will be dropped from next Tuesday, 1st March.
It brings Italy into line with other ski countries, such as France, Switzerland and Austria, which have recently scrapped pre-arrival testing.
The Italian authorities say from Tuesday, visitors will need either a vaccination certificate, a recovery certificate or a negative test result to enter the country.
“This is very good news, and we are very happy here in Val Gardena that UK skiers will have less restrictions to come here for the remained of the season,” said the marketing manager of Val Gardena, Christina Demetz, to PlanetSKI.
“We have been OK with the necessary rules and people have been willing to obey the, but as the pandemic eases then these developments are good things.”
“The move will be welcomed by vaccinated skiers and snowboarders heading to Italy,” said the PlanetSKI editor James Cove who has been skiing in Italy recently.
“Those arriving by car via the Mont Blanc Tunnel from France or St Bernard Tunnel from Switzerland have needed to arrive with a negative test.
“Since arriving almost 6 weeks ago I have been skiing over the border in France and Switzerland more than half a dozen times from my base in the city of Aosta.
“I have never once been asked to produce the required negative test on crossing the road border back into Italy
“I have done a test each time to obey the regulations and it seems to have been entirely pointless & needlessly expensive.
“The border officials have shown no interest in checking and many people have simply not bothered to even do a test as they know the chance of getting stopped is tiny,” James added.
James has just moved across Italy from Aosta, and he has just arrived in Val Gardena in the Dolomites.
He did a quick straw poll in the bar of his hotel in St Christina as the news broke.
All the British visitors he spoke to were delighted the testing requirement changes were set to take place.
The latest move from Italy follows a new protocol approved by the European Council on 22nd February intended to harmonise the rules across the whole EU.
Although it is a recommendation rather than binding on individual states, it’s thought likely all EU countries will adopt similar rules.
Other changes in the new EU protocol should make it easier for families to travel – good news with the Easter holidays coming up in April.
Unvaccinated children aged 6 to 17 will be able to enter the EU with proof of a negative PCR text.
And unvaccinated adults with proof of a recent infection within the past 180 days will also be allowed to enter, though they may need to take a test before arriving.
The news has been welcomed by the UK travel body, ABTA.
“Like the UK, Spain, France, Greece and Portugal no longer require people who are fully vaccinated to take a pre-departure test and we were pleased to see this become an official recommendation by the EU,” Mark Tanzer, the CEO at ABTA said in a statement released on Thursday.
“It’s important to remember that individual Member States can continue to implement their own rules, but these recent moves demonstrate well the more positive attitude from policymakers to travel at this time.”
Mr Tanzer said governments were increasingly understanding the challenges faced by the travel sector.
“Obviously, there is still more to be done, not least in addressing barriers that remain for unvaccinated travellers, and the role of the Passenger Locator Form.
“With the Government’s wider changes to COVID measures, including confirmation that the legal requirement to isolate for those testing positive after travel will be removed in line with those domestic changes, it is no longer clear why this measure is being retained.”
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