“Delicious, the sun on your face.” At the exit of the ski lift, in the middle of the Dolomites, Dutch tourists could hardly suppress their enthusiasm. Fresh snow fell under their shoes. “Last year our vacation was canceled. This year we’ll make up for it twice and a lot.”
Although the Christmas holidays are over, the elevators are still completely full. According to Marco Papalardi, director of marketing at Dolomiti Superski, a ski pass seller, it’s been a good season so far. “During the holidays we’ve had good numbers. For the rest, we’re seeing a steady number of people on the slopes. Not as much as before the pandemic, but things are going well.”
As for Papalardi, more skaters will be added in the coming weeks. He expects more people to choose the Dolomites as the Italian government introduced a 2G policy for ski lifts this week. So only vaccinated or cured people can buy a ski pass.
“We’re very happy with that,” says Papalardi. “It is an additional guarantee to our customers that winter sports in the Dolomites are safe.”
The least fortified area
Even before the Italian government made the decision on the second generation policy, local governments in the South Tyrol region had already pushed for it. Bolzano, one of the provinces of that region, is one of the least vaccinated in Italy. Less than 75 percent of the population over the age of 5 got their first shot there, compared to an average of 81 percent across Italy.
Local officials feared that tourists might turn away as a result, while South Tyrol’s economy depends on it at 17 percent. In the end, they got what they wanted: as of this week, a vaccination certificate is required not only in the ski lift, but also on public transport. Restaurants, cafes, and gyms have been following a 2G policy for some time.
With this measure, Prime Minister Draghi’s government wants to persuade people to vaccinate. “Many of the problems we face in Italy are due to unvaccinated people,” he told a news conference on Monday.
But in the mountains of Bolzano, where German is spoken like Italian and where power from Rome is viewed with suspicion, the new policy is not going well.
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