Head’s Up: Tourist Tax In Rome

FYI: With the summer travel season in full swing, don’t forget about Rome’s tourist tax!

Starting on January 1, 2011, Rome introduced a new tax on tourists who come to the city.  The tax will be levied by hotels and attractions on tourists who visit the city.  And tourists means anyone who isn’t a resident of Rome — even Italian tourists visiting from elsewhere are subject to the tax.  According to CNN.com (Tourists in Rome face new tax, by Hada Messia, January 4, 2011):

  • Four and five star hotels will charge 3 euro extra per person per night
  • Three star and below will charge 2 euro extra per person per night
  • Admissions to museums and other sites for non-Roman residents will be a euro more than the normal price
Colosseo, Rome
Small children are exempt from the tourist tax in hotels (under the age of 10).  Youth hostels are exempt from levying the tax, although campgrounds are charging.  The tax will only be collected for the first ten days of any stay in Rome (or five days for campsites). 

Also, the Daily Mail is reporting (Cost of visits to Rome rises as city introduces new tourist tax, by Chris Leadbeater, 5th January 2011) that the tax must be paid in cash at the end of the stay and is a separate charge from any that you accrue at your hotel or campsite.  Remember to hold back a few euro notes to cover this!

Recently on the Italian radio program 24 Mattino, there was a segment on the tax possibly arriving in other cities.  As Italian cities and towns look to increase their coffers during these hard economic times, it is certainly possible that a similar tax might be levied in Milan, Venice, Naples and many other popular tourist destinations.  A poll on Radio 24’s web site indicated that those who took the poll were in favor of the tax, which, in Rome, will be used to help maintain cultural treasures and improve the city’s infrastructure.

Ironically, Rome abolished it’s tourism tax twenty years ago, so it will be curious to see how long this one remains.  The city stands to make almost $300,000 per day — that’s an enormous sum for a city whose roads and public transport need a boost as well as the thousands of art works, archaeological sites and museums which need improvements.

So I ask you — would such a tax deter you from visiting Rome?  Should tourists be asked to shoulder the increased financial burden when they only spend a tiny percentage of the time in the city?  It’s certainly something to consider on your next trip to Rome, and you can be sure that this tax will soon be cropping up in other cities in Italy, too!