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Italian government withdraws plans for tourist tax

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday November 14, 2006

Rome- There will be no tourist tax in Italy after the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi failed to push a measure through parliament that would have seen visitors pay between 2 and 5 euros a day to help fund services in tourist areas. The government withdrew the proposal, included in its draft 2007 budget, amid heavy criticism, including from within its own ranks.

The political opposition led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was trumpeting the government's U-turn as a sign of weakness.

Faced with widespread protest, the government had already signalled at the weekend it might withdraw the measure.

The proposed tax had particularly raised hackles in the tourist industry.

Tourist would have had to pay the tax when settling their hotel bill, with the amount of the tax varying according to the size of their destination. Visitors in small communities would have had to pay less than tourists in Rome, Milan and Naples, for example.

The money was slated to go into the town or city's coffers and to be used to improve tourist services, but opponents warned Italy risked losing sightseers to other countries.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency