Budget Travel recently alerted its readers to a new hotel tax in Italy – not for every city, but for some of the major ones. Like many countries around the world, Italy is feeling the economic pinch and is weathering these rough economic times by passing the buck onto tourists. What this means for travelers to Italy is that, in some cities, they can expect to pay between $1-$4 more per person per night than they paid last year at the same time. The majority of cities imposing these new taxes began charging them this spring and summer, but a couple, namely the Sorrento Coast and Capri, will not begin charging them until early next year.
An extra $1-$7 per person per night doesn’t sound like a lot inititially (and this will vary depending on the strength of the dollar, of course), but if you plan on staying in Italy for 5 nights with two people, you could be paying as much as $75 more for your stay.
The bottom line is, the more stars a hotel has (i.e., the more expensive it is), the more you’ll be paying in taxes – so choose the cheaper route and these tax increases shouldn’t affect you too much. The taxes are highest in cities including Venice, Florence, Padua, Giardini Naxos and Rome.
Now what if you already booked a trip through a tour group and paid for all of your hotel stays before these taxes went into effect? Some companies and tour operators appear to be absorbing the new hotel taxes – in other words, they are choosing to pay for them instead of passing on the additional costs to their clients. This is an expensive decision in many cases, but it’s one that will ensure happy travelers all around.
Traveling with these tour companies for longer stays in Italy might actually offset the cost of the tour itself, unless you plan to backpack and stay in hostels. Why? The majority of hostels are exempt from these tax laws! So, stay in a hostel to save some more money. Most hostels in Italy register themselves as B&Bs or room rentals in order to collect these taxes, but if they are not registered, they cannot charge the tax.
See? There’s always a way. Don’t let these new taxes scare you away from traveling around Italy – it’s too gorgeous a country to miss out now. Just eat two servings of gelato a day instead of three.
Photo: Eustaquio Santimano