Italian Tourism Overload
Italy is amongst the most visited counties in Europe when it comes to tourist destinations and for yet another year, Rome has placed at the top of Italy's cultural destinations. In 2018 alone 15.2 million tourists visited the home of the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, and the Colosseum. This represents an increase of 1.1 million tourists compared to the previous year and accounted for 64% of Rome's overnight visitors in 2018. The Colosseum alone attracted an average of 21,000 tourists a day in 2018.
One thing that happens to bewilder international visitors, however, is the city tax. In Rome, the authorities apply a city tax on all hotels which is charged and collected by your hotel. The tax requires a contribution of 4.00 Euros per person per night for 2 and 3 star hotels, 6.00 Euros per person per night for 4 star hotels and 7.00 Euros per person per night for 5 star hotels. While it may seem like an inconvenience, the Rome Tourist Tax is put toward maintenance and promotion of Rome in the tourism capacity. In 2016, the city of Rome raised €123 million from the tourist tax which has bolstered the wonderful tourist services and assistance, info points, and location materials.
Visitor numbers are only expected to keep growing, with 2019 set to be busier than ever for many of Italy's tourist hotspots and with it comes an added €41.3 billion to the Italian economy. This isn’t good news to everyone however, especially residents of these hotspots. Over-tourism in iconic Italian destinations has led to the introduction of measures like Venice charging an entry fee from this year, Florence recently banned snacking on its historic streets, and Rome has cracked down on obnoxious activities including pub crawls and cooling off in fountains. While the government has created initiatives such as the “Year of Villages” to get tourists off the beaten path, the best hope for well meaning travelers is that their counterparts continue to behave themselves.
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