ITALY wants to lure back sun-starved Brits from next month with the promise of Covid-free holidays.
Vaccinations have been ramped up on 30 paradise islands with the aim of jabbing their entire populations within three weeks.
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The drive will open up Med holiday favourites like Sicily and Capri to tourists without any restrictions.
But it is still on the UK’s amber list, meaning people returning from there have to self-isolate for two weeks.
Many of the country’s remote islands, which are economically dependent on tourism, have stayed Covid free throughout the pandemic.
That means they can be quickly opened up to sun seekers the moment their small populations have been vaccinated.
Sicily’s tourism chief Manlio Messina said it “increases even more their charm for tourists looking for safe, pristine holiday spots”.
He told EUobserver: “The Covid-free campaign is going speedily.”
Restarting travel to its islands is the first plank in the country’s plan to “reboot” its vital tourism industry, which is worth 13% of GDP.
Some remote mountain resorts in the northern Piedmont region are also planning to reopen to hikers under the “Covid free” branding.
Italy was one of the European countries worst hit by the pandemic but has now jabbed 30m people – around half of its population.
The new strategy will heighten calls from holiday bosses here for Boris Johnson to widen the scope of the green list.
They want the PM to introduce regional exemptions for areas with very low Covid rates and high vaccination.
Travel body ABTA said: “We’re encouraging the Government to reintroduce the islands policy it had last year and adopt a regional approach to travel advice for large countries, as a risk-based and pragmatic way of opening up international travel to more places.”
In a separate blow to holiday hopes France is poised to slap new travel restrictions on Brits tomorrow over Indian variant concerns.
It is understood No 10 has been lobbying Paris hard not to blackball the UK, pointing to our high vaccination rates.
But its efforts look set to fail, with foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian insisting “slightly tougher sanitary measures” will be brought in.
He said: “The arrival of the Indian variant is a problem. We remain on high alert regarding that matter in cooperation with the British authorities.”
At the moment arrivals from the UK already have to present a negative test before and quarantine for seven days.
Austria today became the second EU country behind Germany to hit Brits with new travel curbs.