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dec 14

Rome to tax tourists instead of locals

The view from the five-star Bernini Hotel in Rome, where a stay will now cost an extra $4 per person per night (Courtesy matteopenzo/Flickr)

We reported this summer about a potential new nightly hotel tax, and 89 readers commented on how it might affect their plans to visit Rome. Well, that tourist tax is now official.

As of January 1, a hotel stay will cost an extra $4 (€3) per person per night at four- and five-star properties and an extra $2.70 (€2) per person per night at other hotels. (Hostels and kids under age 2 are exempt.) A maximum of 10 nights can be taxed, so you could pay up to an additional $40 per person on your next trip—about the cost of a dinner out. This is in addition to a 10 percent hotel tax that's typically included in the advertised room rate.

The new tax revenue will help to compensate for slashed funding from Italy's national government and will go toward the much-needed restoration of Roman monuments. Cultural treasures are literally crumbling in Rome and across Italy. Three chunks of Roman mortar fell from an arched ceiling at the Colosseum back in May, and a few structures collapsed in Pompeii last month.

So I'll admit that the tax is going to a good cause, and tourists do leave an impact on local monuments. But does that really mean we tourists should be stuck footing the bill? Local councilor Frederico Guidi has readily admitted: "In order for the city of Rome not to tax Romans, we have decided to tax the tourists," according to the Daily Mail.

Venice has similar plans in the works to charge tourists an entry tax of perhaps $1.33 (€1) upon arrival by train, plane, or cruise ship—which means we've got the beginnings of a trend. What's your reaction to these tourist taxes?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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