TORONTO — The Italian National Tourism Board (ENIT) is reassuring travellers that the situation in Sicily has returned to normal following recent wildfires.
Large areas of the Mediterranean saw record-breaking temperatures in July that caused deadly blazes across the region. Last week, Italian firefighters battled nearly 1,400 fires, including 650 in Sicily where three elderly people died.
But thanks to the heroic efforts of firefighters and volunteers, the situation in Sicily has reportedly been contained, with recovery well underway.
On July 28, Sicilian President Renato Schifani posted a photo of Segesta Archaeological Park with the caption: “In the last three days we have worked day and night to ensure the reopening of the park in total safety, and already this evening we will kick off the Segesta Teatro Festival, an effort made possible thanks to the director, Luigi Biondo, and all the employees of the Park, the Forestry Corps and the many volunteers who gave us a hand, with courage and determination.”
ENIT also issued a statement to welcome back visitors to the island, with ENIT President and CEO Ivana Jelinic, confirming that the fires have been contained that the main tourist areas have been preserved.
“Visitor safety has been a top priority and facilities, historic sites and tourist attractions have undergone rigorous inspections to ensure a safe experience and enjoyable stay for all travellers,” says Jelinic. “The wildfires posed a challenge for Sicily, but through cooperation and determination, it was possible to contain them and protect natural and cultural resources. The areas affected by the fires have been promptly restored, and valuable tourist sites are once again open to the public.”
Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè added:
“Sicily is a beautiful land ready to host tourists who choose it for its extraordinary beauty, artistic, cultural and food and wine heritage. For this, thanks must be given to the efforts made in recent days by the authorities, local governments, law enforcement and firefighters who worked tirelessly to make Sicily safe and get the tourist season back in fully swing.
“The government has put in place plans of action to help restore the normal resumption of activities. As a Ministry, we have made 10 million euros available to help those who have lost their vacation, and thanks to the constant work of ENIT, which provides constant and detailed updates, those who choose Sicily as a destination can do so with absolute peace of mind.
“I have read in the foreign press about a situation that does not correspond to reality, and that is why I invite journalists to come to Sicily and experience firsthand the beauty of this land that is as wonderful as it is safe.”
Last week, ENIT issued another statement saying “there is no climate emergency in Italy” despite recent media reports of soaring temperatures, fires and storms across the country.
The president’s Facebook message:
“The images of the park ravaged by flames are a punch to the stomach for all of us, but thanks to the cleaning and pruning works, planned for time, we avoided the worst, saving the temple, the theatre and the house of the Navarca.
Over the past three days we have been working day and night to ensure the reopening of the park in total safety and already tonight we will launch the Segesta Teatro Festival . An effort made possible thanks to the director Luigi Biondo and all the Park employees, the Forest Corps and the many volunteers who gave us a hand, with courage and determination.
A firm will not to bend in the face of difficulties and to go back to work in the name of culture, theater, music and dance, in one of the most beautiful and suggestive places on our Island.
Our earth has been disgraced, hurt and giving up would be the easiest thing to do but now is the time to rise again!!!”