Florence’s Sudden Attack on Visitors
Following Rome’s introduction of an accommodation tax, Florence has decided to do the same. The difference is that Rome gave people a bit of notice. Florence has given just a month. From July 1st all visitors (except children under 10) staying overnight will have to pay €1 per night. But it gets worse. You also pay a euro for each star category of accommodation you stay at so a 5 star hotel will attract €5 per night per person. Stay a week and a couple could be paying an extra €70.
In the week since this was announced there has been no further statement about its implementation. All that has happened are rumours that some Italian accommodation providers are going to challenge the tax in the courts. Although such a tax has been mooted for some time, it was thought to be at least six months away. Secondly it was believed that the very high cost of coach permits would be reduced when the tax was introduced. No such luck.
There is no advice or news about this tax on the Visit Florence website.
As ETOA put it, (European Tour Operators Association) nothing was learnt from the introduction of the tax in Rome except “how to ride roughshod over tourism.” ETOA also noted that one city councillor had calculated this tax could bring an additional €18 million per year. And when councillors see revenue it’s hard to persuade them that there are drawbacks to their ideas.
The biggest drawback is that people will stay away or at least not stay overnight. Staying elsewhere is uneconomic unless you were planning on touring anyway because the train fare will cost more than the tax. Florence has a good rail network so if you were planning on visiting Pisa, Lucca and Florence stay in one of the other places. The accommodation might be cheaper there anyway.
There is the ETOA CityFair coming up in London on June 20th. That’s when we shall probably get more news.