Sicily plans to relaunch tourism by paying for holidaymakers to stay

One night in three will be paid for by the local government

Economies that rely heavily on tourism are currently among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While predominantly agricultural, Sicily has been working hard in recent years to boost tourism to the region and has come up with an initiative to try to ensure the money and time that has already been spent getting visitors on to the island hasn't been in vain.

In order to entice holidaymakers back once travel restrictions have been lifted, Sicily's councilor for tourism, Manlio Messina, has announced that one night out of every three will be paid for by the region.

He explained: "We buy services, such as hotel nights from operators, and we give them to tourists, Sicilians or not, who come to us. If you stay at least three nights, the region pays one if you stay six nights, they are paid two."

A fund of 75 million euros has been put aside by the local administration to fund the initiative. Messina added: "Tourism is the sector that suffered the damage first and will start again later. That's why we decided to support it."

Sicily is the largest island in Italy and is famous for its archaeology, seascape and unique Sicilian cuisine.

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