Countries are pulling out all the stops this summer to (responsibly) encourage tourism. The Italian village of San Giovanni in Galdo in southern Italy is making prospective visitors an offer that’s pretty tough to refuse. For travelers who visit between July and October, the village is offering free accommodation in one of its many vacant homes.
Population decline has led to the abandonment of several houses, which are now being repurposed for tourist accommodation. The initiative is called Regalati il Molise (which means “give yourself to Molise”), and visitors are invited to spend up to seven nights, for free, in one of the region’s vacant houses. The idea behind it is that, since lodging costs are covered, visitors will have more money to invest in the local economy.
Enzo Luongo, a local activist who created the initiative, told The Telegraph, “Due to decades of emigration from Molise, there are houses in village centers that have been lying empty for years. These are beautiful but depopulated villages that don’t have any tourist accommodation to begin with, so we thought: how can we help revive our historic villages, while also encouraging visitors during these difficult times when tourism is at an all-time low?”