15-02-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
While Kenya reactivates contacts with its main partners for international tourism and invites airlines and charter companies to resume direct flights, Italy seems once again to be facing the risk of a total closure of its borders.
This new week begins with the usual uncertainty on the Italy-Kenya axis, amid expectations, hopes (as per the Minister...) and paradoxes.
Just a few days ago, the new Prime Minister Mario Draghi had given a sign of optimism for the recovery of the sector, reopening after more than a decade the Ministry of Tourism (until yesterday merged with the Cultural Heritage and Entertainment) and entrusting it to the Lega Nord's Massimo Garavaglia.
After this move, a new conciliatory Prime Ministerial Decree is also expected on foreign travel. For some time now, there has also been a parliamentary interpellation from the Lega Nord side to regulate travel outside the Schengen area for tourism. It would be a question of understanding why so many countries, indiscriminately, have been included in the "E" band, which includes nations already open and prepared to receive travellers with a tampon or vaccine, and at the same time areas in which no one would ever go on holiday or unaccustomed to receiving foreigners, "hot" and dangerous countries.
While among the accessible areas there are countries that are still completely closed, or at least to Italy.
But just when it might be possible to shed light on these inconsistencies, the Scientific Technical Committee of the Italian Ministry of Health and Walter Ricciardi, advisor to the Minister still in office, Speranza, have requested a total lockdown from their superior and consequently from the Draghi government.
Ricciardi, as the news agencies reported on Sunday 14 February, is calling for an immediate, intensive and time-limited lockdown.
"The total lockdown," Ricciardi explained, "will only work if it is accompanied by a resumption of testing and tracing when the cases are less than 50 per 100,000 and by full-scale vaccination. It will only work if these three things are pursued together".
The CTS also agrees, saying that the conditions are not yet right for lifting any restrictions, including the reopening of ski resorts, for example.
So there are still many doubts about the gradual reopening of Italian tourism in Kenya, while slowly the African summer passes with half-empty hotels, parks and safari reserves frequented mainly by tourists from Eastern Europe and a few "do-it-yourself" travellers, and the most popular holiday destinations for Italians, such as Malindi and Watamu, with the usual faces (although welcome, but not enough to turn the economy around).
It is increasingly difficult to hope for an amnesty before Easter, now everything is postponed until mid-July when charter flights and tour operators would like to return to a semblance of normality, while Kenya Airways has already announced that it would like to restart in June with the Rome-Nairobi and also Turkish Airlines with the Istanbul-Mombasa and the various connections with our country.
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