Complex new regulations set to dramatically restrict the number of coaches into the centre of Rome from January should be suspended.

The call came from the European Tourism Association which voiced “serious concerns” about the practicability of the new plan as well as the harm it might cause.

The City of Rome proposes restricting access for full-size private coaches to zone C, the historic centre frequented by visitors.

Etoa wants the enforcement of the restrictions suspended until either clear evidence is provided to show they would be beneficial or until there are more effective solutions developed which will have demonstrable long-term benefits for the local community, businesses and visitors.

The trade body claims that the 2019 new tourist bus plan for the Italian capital:

– Will make traffic congestion worse as coaches are an efficient use of road space, taking up the space of approximately three cars. Alternatives would take up more space, such as 15-17 taxis per one coach. The new regulation will increase congestion outside the central zone C.
– Will make air quality worse. The new plans restrict access for low emission vehicles.
– Will damage the local community as it will make the provision of some private transport services for local people more expensive.
– Will damage the visitor economy and hospitality industry. Service providers believe they will lose both MICE and leisure group travel. Operators say that business will move away.

Etoa chief executive Tom Jenkins said: “Rome is a jewel in the crown of many European itineraries and if these plans go ahead they will cause untold damage. Etoa can help Rome develop evidence-based solutions.”