What we’d do to be “nibbling aperitivi” in a Sicilian piazza right now. Travel restrictions allowing, the Italian island is offering a major incentive for all those who go there later this year. In a move to reboot its tourism sector, the regional government will cover half the cost of visitors’ flights and a third of their hotel expenses.

Sicily has lost upwards of €1 billion in tourism-related revenue since Italy shut down on March 10. Now the island authorities are to offer huge discounts on flights and hotel stays, as well as free tickets to all its many museums and archaeological sites. The scheme is costing the island €50 million, which it hopes to recoup quickly as borders reopen and tourists hunt for cheap post-lockdown breaks.

The vouchers will be available on the Visit Sicily website soon after the country reopens its borders and businesses. We don’t yet know when that will be, but there have been tentative early steps: restaurants can reopen for takeaway across Italy from May 4, while the manufacturing and constructions sectors can also return to work.

For crystal-clear waters, picturesque hikes and to-die-for antipasti, there are few places better than Sicily. And if your quaran-diet already involves you eating ice cream for breakfast, you’ll be pleased to hear that this is one place where it’s perfectly normal. See you in Palermo! – By Huw Oliver @ Timeout

Vietnam’s Hue offers 50% discount on entrance fees at local monuments for three months

The Hue Imperial Citadel (Dai Noi) in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue (Source: VNA)

The Thua Thien Hue provincial authorities have decided to offer a 50% discount on entrance fees to local monuments in Hue City for three months, from May 8 to July 31.

Also read: Vietnam’s Hue city gets ready to reopen for tourists

It is the most prominent measure issued by the People’s Council of Thua Thien Hue Province boost the local tourism industry, which has been affected by COVID-19.

In addition, Thua Thien Hue will increase free performance programs in the Imperial City of Hue from July 15 to the end of 2020, as well as focusing on hosting quality festivals and attractive events, while boosting tourism promotion activities with strategic products and services to attract more tourists.

In January this year, the local tourism industry achieved positive results as tourism indicators increased over the same period last year, such as the overall number of visitors rising by 22.07%, with the number of international visitors increasing by 33.65%, and tourism revenue climbing 14.89%.

However, due to COVID-19, the number of tourists to Thua Thien Hue in the first four months of 2020 is estimated at more than 940,000, down 50% from the same period in 2019.

The local authorities have deployed solutions and support packages for tourism businesses, in addition to stimulus programs to revive the local tourism industry, especially after social distancing orders were lifted following the effective control of the pandemic in Vietnam.

A positive result is that during the April 30 and May Day holidays, over 22,000 visitors have travelled to Hue, thanks to the entrance free policy applied on the Complex of Hue Monuments (from April 30 to May 5) by the Provincial People’s Committee. @ NDO