Recent weeks have been particularly tough for Italians, as heavy rain showers, which resulted in massive floods, have caused the death of 14 people, and another 36,000 residents of the Emilia Romagna region had to leave their homes behind, if there is anything left of them.
Another 23,000 people are still unable to return to their houses, while the locals say they have never seen anything like this before, despite the region being often affected by scattered showers in the past, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In addition to deadly floods, this week Italians have also had to deal with the eruption of the active Etna volcano, which has impacted flights as it spewed a dark plume of ash that rained down on this region’s largest city of Catania. Several flight suspensions were reported during this time. Fortunately, no injuries have occurred, despite the eruption releasing molten lava.
These two events that have occurred in Italy are expected to impact one of the largest tourism destinations in Europe as the summer season approaches. Italy is among the top most popular destinations in the EU, and it was set to fully recover tourism rates this summer, which were deeply severed due to COVID-19.
In fact, the recovery had already started last year, as the number of tourists rose by almost 40 per cent compared to 2021.
SchengenVisaInfo.com advises how to navigate your way to Italy during these times and also points out how to know your rights regarding flight refunds and other related matters.
Mount Etna & Floods Affected Areas – Destinations Safe to Visit & Those to Avoid
Due to landslides, it is advisable to avoid the Bolognese hills and nearby areas – part of the Emilia Romagna region. In addition, Ravenna, the popular tourist city for its Byzantine-era mosaics, was severely affected by the floods, with more than 27,000 people being evacuated. Drinking water and food are also short in supply in some areas, as Euronews reports.
Furthermore, high schools in Forli will reopen tomorrow, as they were shut due to continuing disruption on roads.
As per the Mount Etna eruption, EasyJet told the Independent that it had affected four flights between the UK and Italy to be cancelled, with one flight rescheduled for May 24.
No injuries have been reported, but due to the ash in the sky, flights at Catania airport have been suspended. In addition, many flights are being delayed or diverted to Comiso, a nearby airport.
Travel Insurance: Why Do You Need One & What Does it Cover?
If you will be travelling to Italy these days, you must make sure you have the right travel insurance. Having travel insurance is important for passengers as it protects them from expenses that can occur due to medical emergencies, such as injuries or hospitalisations.
In addition, by having travel insurance, passengers can ask for refunds in case of trip cancellation or other interruptions. Travellers to Europe are recommended to purchase travel insurance, especially in recent weeks, as flight disruptions due to frequent strikes have been evident.
Travel insurance can reimburse holders for non-refundable expenses like flights, accommodations, and prepaid activities, as well as provides coverage for lost, delayed or stolen baggage during the journey.
What to Keep in Mind If You Are Visiting Italy These Days?
Travellers that were set to visit Italy this week are uncertain about their visit there, due to all of the recent developments.
A British man has raised his concerns on social media, pointing out that despite the situation, they were still supposed to travel to Italy.
“British Airways are refusing to refund £1518 (€1,747) paid for flights to Bologna today. At least eight people dead, and 13,000 evacuated from the area due to flooding, but we’re still expected to travel there for a holiday. Thoughts with everyone suffering in the region,” he tweeted this morning.
In addition, another Twitter used pointed out the cost of these tickets and the lack of security to travel there, as only yesterday, rain showers stopped, and people were able to start searches in the affected areas.
“[I] bought tickets to Bologna months ago for tomorrow morning. It’s very expensive for my country since we don’t use [the] euro. And now there are floods everywhere [and I don’t know if it’s safe to travel,” he wrote.
While travel insurance provides a security sense to travellers in case of any inconvenience during their trip, airlines are not obligated to reimburse passengers. However, if their flight is cancelled due to another flight being cancelled, passengers are eligible for compensation.
In such cases, here is what airlines should provide for their passengers:
- Sufficient amounts of food and drink (usually provided in the form of vouchers)
- Communication alternatives at passengers’ disposal (often by refunding the cost of the phone calls)
- Accommodation for those that are re-routed the next day (usually to a nearby accommodation facility)
- Transport to and from the place of stay (or from home, if the passenger is able to return there)
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