Pricey Italy abandons its tourist tax

CONTROVERSIAL PLANS by the Italian government to levy a tax on tourists have been abandoned, following objections by hoteliers and tour operators, who feared it would deter holidaymakers from visiting the country.

The Italian parliament had been expected to ratify proposals announced last month to charge international and domestic tourists up to five euros per person per day or 140 euros a week for a family of four.

These daily charges were to be added to hotel bills and were intended to raise funds for re-investment in the tourism industry. Local authorities in Rome, Florence and Venice were in favour of the proposals, while officials in Turin were expected to introduce the tax, but charge only one or two euros a day.

A spokeswoman for the Italian tourist board said the government had this week decided to abandon the measures. “There was a lot of opposition, particularly from hoteliers, who felt they might lose business,” she said. “The cities all have budgets and they must decide how much to reinvest in tourism.”