Italy has become the first country in the European Union to have surpassed one million COVID-19 vaccinations, meaning nearly two per cent of its population have now received the jab.
The destination currently ranks sixth in the world for the number of vaccinations administered, and second in Europe.
Italy began rolling out phase one of its vaccination program on 27 December and has already vaccinated all of its national health staff.
As part of phase one, Italy is hoping to have all people over 80 and care-home residents vaccinated by the end of January, bringing the total number of vaccinated persons to two million.
As part of phase two of the vaccination program, which will be rolled out from February to June, Italy is aiming to vaccinate a further 21 million people, including those with underlying health conditions, teachers and over-60s.
Phase three will offer vaccinations to all essential service workers, and phase four will see the rest of Italy’s population hopefully vaccinated by the end of December 2021.
Speaking at Travel DAZE 2020 back in November, the Italian National Tourist Board’s chief marketer said the COVID-inflicted travel pause was an opportunity for the country to strike a better balance between economic and environmental sustainability in the tourism industry, particularly given Italy was one of the biggest victims of overtourism prior to the pandemic.
“Sustainability is a theme we have been discussing for years, and finally we get a chance to approach it the right way,” Maria Elena Rossi said, adding that the current approach of major cities in Italy is to implement more sustainable ways of living for citizens.
“What people will find when they come back is something changed. The citizens have become tourists in their own cities, which has brought more authenticity, more sustainability in terms of transportation and infrastructure.
“I really do believe this is an opportunity to become better, and I really do think that both policymakers and the tourism industry is working in this direction, and working together is really the answer, especially in terms of public and private.”
Featured image source: iStock/sezer ozger