FYI: Rome’s Tourist Tax

Last year Rome’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno, approved a tourist tax that took effect on January 1st, 2011.

This tax is imposed on all visitors to the city – that is, anyone who is not a resident of Rome, including Italian visitors arriving in Rome from other parts of Italy. On a recent Italian radio program, 24 Mattino, the mayor of Pisa, Marco Filippeschi, also indicated that it is something that they are looking at closely. Don’t be surprised if you see this tax pop up in places like Venice, Florence, or possibly in Milan!

How much tax are we talking about?

Before we get into numbers, you should be aware that the tax must be paid in cash (this ensures that the tax is not eaten up by credit card processing fees nor will it creep into the bottom line of hotel operators). This “tax” is not added onto your hotel bill so be sure to have some euro notes at the ready when you’re about to check out. This tax is also collected at campsites so if you’re looking to save some money, consider staying in a youth hostel which is not required to collect this tax. Another way to avoid it might be to find a short-term apartment.

Four and five star hotels will be required to collect an additional 3 euro per night per person. Three star hotels and below will be required to collect 2 euro per night per person. Also, tickets to museums, sites and attractions will cost non-Romans an extra 1 euro. Children under 10 years of age are exempt from the tax. You might consider the amounts to be small, but consider a group of four adults staying for six days in Rome at a four star hotel: that’s an extra 72 euro! The good news is that the tax is only collected on the first ten days of your stay (five, if you’re staying in a campsite). So for the longer visitor, the tax stops after ten days, but the majority of visitors to Rome probably don’t stay longer than 10 to 12 days.

So the bigger questions:

1. How much will this tax affect tourism? Most believe that this will have very little effect on the numbers of people who come to the city each year. As it stands, the city is poised to earn just under $300,000 per day!

2. Such a tax existed in Rome twenty years ago. How long will it take before it is repealed?

3. Would such a tax cause you to rethink your travel plans?

As they say in Italian, offre spunti di riflessione! (That’s food for thought!)

Let us know what you think in the comments..