CURRENT SITUATION IN ITALY
We have been out of lockdown for 3 weeks and the situation is improving every day: some Regions are covid free or almost there. Some of the northern regions are testing like crazy and finding positive results in a very low percentage of tests (like less than 1%). New positive people every day are in the order or 300-400 in Italy and get treated at home and every day thousands of people become negative, meaning they are healed. Active cases decrease by 2000 every day and as of today they are lower than 50k and quickly decreasing.
Other countries in Europe like the UK, France and Spain are behind but getting there too, a little bit slower because their lockdown rules where less strict.
These are the numbers.
In the past 3 months we have done a lot of social listening. I’m personally part of FB groups, I call, chat, zoom with a number of Italian and international tour operators and Lake Como suppliers. So I believe I have some insight into what’s next.
Italians will not give up their summer holidays and will do anything fo a week at the beach or a hike on the mountains. Our second homes will reopen and as soon as we are allowed, we will reach them, at least to get a change of scenery.
Italy has over 4600 miles of coasts, leaving an abundancy of room for social distancing.
Islands like Sardinia and Sicily will bank on the security given by the extremely low number of Covid cases and by the barriers they can easily put on entry.
Our friends from the rest of Europe will hopefully be allowed to reach us by mid June: there is plenty of coast for everyone. Countries like Croatia or Greece will probably be preferred but I frankly see no difference between a beach in these countries and one in southern Italy, as both areas have seen a very low contagion.
Our American friends are expected to enjoy the big spaces they have in their wonderful country and probably enjoy some staycation of else leave for the nearby Caribbeans or Canada.
However international flights will mostly restart from the beginning of July and hopefully by September the Covid situation will be clearer and some will be travelling again to Italy, enjoying the opportunity to visit the country with absolutely no crowd and the cleanest hotel rooms ever!
My very personal point of view is that Covid will not profoundly change the way we are and behave. We need to feel invincible again, we need to somehow go back to feeling like we did this past January.
So travelling will be back soon and so will our business.
But pandemic can be the chance to sit and rethink tourism in Italy.
Do we have our recipe? Of course we do and it is very simple: Italy and Lake Como should strengthen their bond with a high standing target, one which appreciates our treasures and is willing to take the time and spend the money to enjoy it:
- with the help of professional travel agents
- with the organisation provided by professional local experts (with a tour operating license)
- with the company of knowledgable and entertaining professional tour guides.
Too many “professionals” in our recipe? Not at all, we are fed up with bloggers selling tours without a hint of a license, people running an Airbnb and accompanying guests around without a mere background, drivers becoming tour guides and local housewives selling themselves as the best chefs, bypassing any rule dictated by our healthcare system regarding hygiene and authorisations.
So our recipe starts from targeting people who are willling to recognize that visiting Italy with the help of professionals will make their experience million times better.
And a better protection against mistakes, cancellations, trouble and setbacks!
LAKE COMO FOOD TOURS GETS A HEAD START
As Lake Como Food Tours, we believe we are in a good position to serve the public we wish to reach:
- We are local experts and work only with licensed local suppliers
- We put a lot of effort in keeping in touch with all travel agents working with us
- We operate small group tours and more and more private tours. High quality and small numbers: the right combination to help our clients feel safer
- As local experts we have always been the enemy of overcrowded locations, preferring hidden gems and off the beaten path corners (please see for instance our Bellagio walking tour)
- We will strive to convince our clients to visit Italy off season. Lake Como can be beautiful in November and December! Have you ssen Venice in January? I have and I can assure you that although chilly it is magic and as desert as during lockdown!
FIGHTING AGAINST FEAR
Travelling again will not only be a matter of having international flights and open hotels. There will be a barrier we as tour operators and travel agents will need to fight against and that is FEAR.
People are hesitant to leave their cocoon and need to be reassured they can feel safe again even while enjoying travelling.
As Lake Como Food tours what we can do is putting more efforts in organising private tours or small group tours with a very limited number of participants. Our tour guides and all suppliers always wear masks and are very careful about social distancing.
In order to help us all feel the safety (and sense of freedom!) we as locals experience in these days as we travel around Lake Como, we will be taking pics and videos offering evidence that all our experiences, from transfers to hotels, from cruises to walks in the botanical gardens… everything can be safe again with some precautions!
Follow us and we will prove it to you!