TRAVEL: Italy reports surge in bookings for ‘smart working’ summer holidays

More people are planning to rent holiday homes in Italy this summer, taking advantage of being able to work remotely and enjoy more time away, according to a new report.

TRAVEL: Italy reports surge in bookings for 'smart working' summer holidays
Working with a view. Photo: Ostap Senyuk/Unsplash

The rise of the so-called ‘holiday working’ trend has seen a spike in bookings of longer durations in holiday home rentals across Italy, according to new figures shared by Idealista.

Instead of a holiday lasting a week or ten days, more people are booking longer stays of around three weeks, revealed Marco Celani, CEO of Italianway Research Centre – which analyses bookings made on their holiday home rental site.

“We are aiming for 25 million bookings in 2021, and periods of stay are being extended to three weeks. The Adriatic, Sicily, Sardinia and small towns are doing well,” he said.

READ ALSO: Can Americans travel to Italy for tourism this summer?

Contributing to the boom in bookings is the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and the easing of restrictions, according to Celani.

Additionally, the promise of the upcoming ‘green pass‘ to allow travel has translated into a 33% increase of bookings compared to last year, with peak earnings of €80,000 per day, the findings showed.

Some 35% of the 43,000 nights booked from 1st January – 15th of April 2021 are for holiday working purposes, the report added.

The average length of stay is 19 nights with a budget of €3,243, corresponding to an average rate of €170 per night.

The figures have encouraged the tourism site so much that they have added a section titled, ‘Holiday Working – perfect accommodation for smart working’.

READ ALSO: ‘Smart working’? Here’s what you need to know about going self-employed in Italy

Monopoli in Puglia is one destination high on the ‘Holiday Working’ bookings list. Photo by reisetopia on Unsplash

‘Smart working’ has become the buzz word since Covid-19 hit Italy over a year ago, forcing a change in how businesses operated and dragging the country into a new digital era.

Italy wasn’t previously reputed for its digital flexibility, with many people moving to the country noting the widespread internet connectivity problems.

However, the need to work from home has transformed how people work and live, providing new opportunities for people to freelance in Italy and moving teaching and learning online (DAD – Didattica a Distanza).

READ ALSO: Do you know your DAD from your DOP? The most common Italian acronyms explained

It’s also encouraged some Italian towns and villages to offer financial incentives to those willing to relocate there to work remotely, in the hope of injecting new life and boosting the economy.

And it looks as though it’s also paved the way for more people in Italy to leave the cities and choose a safer, calmer place to carry out their work or continue studying while enjoying a break from the crowds.

In fact, the report revealed that this year, people are looking to book ‘holiday working’ breaks with extended family, beginning as early as May and June.


Receiving the most amount of bookings are destinations off the beaten track, with a reported increase in stays in isolated places, only reachable by car or ferry.

“Top performers continue to be destinations where it is possible to book houses outside historic centres but with all services within easy reach, such as Termoli in Molise, Muravera in Sardinia and Monopoli, Castellana Grotte and Lecce in Puglia,” said Celani.

Other places receiving a swell in bookings are Sirolo in the Marche, Marone on Lake Iseo, Bormiese and Valdisotto in Lombardy and Andora and Sanremo in Liguria.

Both the sea and the mountains are attractive to people in Italy taking advantage of the ability to work remotely in a destination of their choosing.

And it’s not just the summer season that’s expected to experience this new trend – as the site has also seen a hike in bookings for October, meaning ‘holiday working’ is set to continue until autumn 2021.

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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example.