This article was published on The South African.
There’s no telling when our borders will re-open, but, currently at Level 2, we’re closer than we’ve been since March. With lockdown Level 1 edging closer and closer, we can slowly begin to fathom that international travel may be a possibility soon; and these destinations in Europe are waiting.
Get paid to visit Europe
Sizzling Sicily offers hotel stays
A Mediterranean Sea getaway to an Italian island may be cheaper now than it ever will be. Sicily will offer an array of discounts, which may be applied to hotel stays, flights and will allow free museum entry. The most enticing part of their scheme to welcome back tourists is, perhaps, their offer of a free night at a hotel, on the fourth night of your stay.
Sicily, with Palermo as the capital, is an autonomous island of Italy, slightly north-east of Tunis, and is about a 30-minute ferry ride from mainland Italy.
Ancient Greek ruins that dot the Sicilian landscape, an array of dazzlingly blue beaches and famous Sicilian cuisine may be some of the draw cards, whilst, for the more adventurous traveller, tours and climbs up Mount Etna – one of the most active volcanoes – are possible.
The programme is anticipated to launch soon, in the shape of vouchers, and will be announced on Sicily’s official website, which can be found here: www.visitsicily.info/en/
Glitzy Geneva to offer gift cards
If you feel like an extravagant trip to one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan (and expensive) cities is the kind of thing you may need to recoup, then a trip to Geneva, a city famed for its natural scenery, and in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, may just be in order.
Geneva is only a 15 to 20-minute drive away from France, and thus, you can anticipate the city to be imbued with classic French cuisine and culture, but simultaneously, famed Swiss clichés like classic cheeses and wines.
To entice tourists, the city is offering the equivalent of approximately just over R1,850 in gift card vouchers, which may be used in booking hotels, dining at selected restaurants (almost 80 of them), and in booking tours. Geneva’s official site offers more information on the cities attractions, history and information, and may be accessed here: www.geneve.com
Cyprus offers COVID-compensation
Cyprus, tied to Greek history, and partially under control of the Turkish, is steeped in a melting pot of cultures, and, like Sicily, is another Mediterranean island.
Beaches, churches, mosques, and valued archeological sites are the magnets that usually pull tourists in. Now, their programme — which promises that any tourists who contract COVID-19 within their borders will be treated to free meals, medicine and even accommodation — is likely to snag even more tourist dollars.
If you’re afraid of getting sick during travelling and worried about the associated expenses that may come with a positive coronavirus test, then Cyprus may be the perfect destination for you. They’ve managed to minimise their existing COVID-19 cases with some of the lowest case numbers to date, and are willing to take care of you should you join their minority.
Cyprus’ tourism portal can be accessed here www.visitcyprus.com/index.php/en/
Things to consider before you jet off to Europe
Keep in mind that all these destinations in Europe require a Schengen visa for South African travellers, which can be applied for within three months of intended travel. Also, some of these offers may have expiration dates, and it is important to check back in on the cities’ policies by the time our borders re-open to see if they’re still applicable.