Border Blunder Leads US Tourists To Swap Italian Island For Birmingham

A group of wealthy American tourists and their international friends were hoping to spend their vacation on the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. Instead of pristine beaches, they ended up having to fly to Birmingham. The incident occurred on July 2, as the five American citizens, and their friends from New Zealand, the UK, Germany, and Italy arrived on the Mediterranean island in a private jet from Colorado.

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Wealthy American tourists were refused entry into Sardinia because of the COVID-19 ban. Photo: Gulfstream

The group could not believe it when Italian border police refused to let them enter the country, citing new European rules regarding people arriving from the United States. Just a day earlier, the European Union had agreed on a set of rules that would allow people from 14 countries to enter the block of 28 nations.

Unfortunately for the people on the flight from Colorado, the United States was not on the list. The country’s COVID-19 infection rate did not meet the EU’s criteria to be deemed a “safe country.”

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A flight to Birmingham

Italian border police refused the group entry to Sardinia as they deemed them a health risk. After a 14-hour standoff at Cagliari Elmas Airport (CAG), the police would not budge on their position. This left the tourists to get back on the jet and fly to Birmingham Airport (BHX) in the English Midlands. 

While trying to find a solution that would let them into Sardinia, the wealthy tourists said they would willingly submit to a coronavirus test and even offered to self-quarantine in a hotel for 14-days as they had young children with them.

Appalled by the authority’s decision and their lack of understanding, some of the well-heeled passengers filed a legal complaint about how they were treated. Over the weekend, a Sardinian court ruled that Italian bureaucracy was to blame and that the tourists should have been allowed entry into Italy.

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The passengers on the private jet argued their case for n14 hours before giving up. Photo: Gulfstream

According to the Daily Telegraph, Sardinian businesswoman Federica Fanari who was with the group on the plane said,

“The Sardinia TAR ruled we were right, but the whole of Italy was made to look bad.

“My American friends, like me, are very disappointed. I expect official apologies on the part of the competent authorities, and I hope they come as soon as possible.

“There was nothing to be done, it was absurd.”

Lawyers claimed some of the visitors were visiting Sardinia for business

Italian lawyers representing some of the passengers on the flight argued that the visitors were potential investors looking to buy a home on the holiday island.

The decision to overturn the border police decision came after lawyers convinced the court that several of the passengers were visiting Sardinia for work reasons and should have been exempt from the European Union ban.

Sardinia is a popular summer holiday destination for Italians. Photo: Evgeny Zhukov via Wikimedia

Seeing as the EU ruling had only come into force as the private plane left the United States, do you think that the Italian border police could have been more understanding, or were they just doing their job? Please let us know what you think in the comments.