The industry has been taken by surprise by plans to impose a bed tax on tourists visiting Venice from this summer. The hotel bed tax of €1 per person, per night is to be imposed from July 1.
The proceeds of around €20 million a year is claimed to help infrastructure as well as cultural monuments. Confirmation of the move came this week as UK industry leaders were meeting in the Italian city for the annual ITT overseas conference.
The tax is subject to being voted through by the local council but this is thought to be a formality, according to the European Tour Operators Association, which is considering its response.
The tax will bring Venice in line with Florence and will apply to stays of a maximum of five nights. A lower rate is expected in the November to February low season. Guests of non 4 and 5-star hotels on the mainland and smaller islands will be charged less.
Residents of Venice, under-10s, hostels and communal accommodation as well as coach drivers and guides travelling with groups will be exempt, according to ETOA. The tax takes advantage of a recent federal law, which allows communes to introduce such 'targeted taxes'.
However, the Italian tourism minister Vittoria Brambilla has suggested that Venice needs to wait for his approval, an assertion dismissed by the Commune of Venice, led by Giorgio Orsoni.
Local hotel associations and trade body Confinmercio have expressed their opposition. The practicalities of dealing with the tax and industry reaction to the suddenness of the announcement is under consideration, according to ETOA.
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