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TRAVEL

Why the Italian government might give you up to €500 to go on holiday in Italy

As Italy seeks to stimulate the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the Italian government is offering to help lower-income residents take a holiday this year. (This article was updated on June 18th)

Why the Italian government might give you up to €500 to go on holiday in Italy
A deserted hotel bar in Jesolo, near Venice. Photo: AFP
Italy on Wednesday June 17th confirmed details of a new “holiday bonus” scheme under which low-income households could receive up to 500 euros ($560) each to help get the country's battered tourism sector back on its feet.
 
Part of the ambitious 'Relaunch Decree' unveiled in mid-May, the 'holiday bonus' could be worth up to €500 to families who choose to travel in Italy.

It aims to boost Italy's tourism sector, which accounts for 15 percent of the country's jobs and has taken a massive hit from travel restrictions imposed by Italy and other countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ ALSO:

“All sectors have suffered badly during this crisis, but tourism has paid the heaviest price for the consequences of this epidemic,” said Italy's Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini as he announced a raft of exceptional stimulus measures for the industry, which also include tax breaks for tourist accommodation, bars and restaurants.

The government said it was setting aside 2.4 billion euros for households earning less than 40,000 euros a year to receive a financial incentive to
holiday in Italy rather than go abroad.

Who can claim the 'holiday bonus'?

There are two conditions:

1) It's for residents, not overseas visitors: you must pay taxes in Italy, since part of the bonus takes the form of a tax deduction. (If you live outside Italy and would like to know when you might be allowed to visit, you'll find our latest information here.)

2) It's for lower-income households: your combined income, as calculated on your ISEE or 'Equivalent Economic Situation Indicator', should total no more than €40,000 per year.

Families, couples and individuals can all apply for the bonus. If you're applying as a couple or family it will only be paid per household, not per person.

READ ALSO: 'Without tourists, Venice is a dead city': Not all Venetians are glad the crowds have gone


Photo: Marco Sabadin/AFP

How much is it worth?

The government says it will pay €150 to people travelling on their own, €300 for two people and €500 for families of three or more.

How is it paid?

The bonus will be paid out in two ways: 80 percent of the cost will be shouldered upfront by your hotel, B&B, agriturismo or other accommodation and should be discounted directly from your bill. You should plan to stay in one spot, because you'll only be able to claim the bonus from a single place of accommodation.

Accommodation owners will then claim the money back from the government in the form of a tax credit. They'll need to make a note of your personal codice fiscale (tax code) and issue a complete bill or receipt.

READ ALSO:

The decree states that payment must be made directly by the guest or via a travel agent, but not through any other kind of portal or intermediary – which means that stays in AirBnBs, which are booked on the company's own platform, are not eligible for the bonus.

It's up to guests to claim the remaining 20 percent of the bonus, which can be deducted from your tax bill for the 2020 financial year.

When can you travel?

The bonus can be paid on trips taken between July 1st and December 31st 2020.

Italy started allowing tourism from the EU and from Schengen countries again on June 3rd.
 
No date has been confirmed yet for non-EU travel to restart, but this is not expected to be until after June 30th.
 

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VENICE

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Venice is introducing a new system to discourage day-trippers in hopes of curbing problems with overtourism in the popular hotspot. Here is what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

After years of discussing a possible “tourist tax”, the city of Venice has confirmed it will make day-trippers pay from €3 to €10 for access to the city centre starting on January 16th.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the goal of the new tourism fee is to discourage day tourism at certain times of the year and encourage overnight tourism. Day-trippers will have to pay a fee, but those who stay overnight continue only to have to pay the city tax of €2 to €5, according to a government press release.

The Commission and the City Council will now examine the regulatory text for the final green light scheduled for the summer.

“We are the first in the world to introduce this system, and we are aware that not everything will work well from the beginning, but we will be ready to improve in the course of work. We want to guarantee the tourist the best quality of the visit and make sure that the city is able to give visitors all the services they need”, said Tourism Secretary Simone Venturini.

READ ALSO: After flooding and coronavirus, is it time Venice stopped relying on tourism?

How much will I have to pay?

The contributo di acesso, or access contribution, will cost from €3 to €10, depending on factors such as tourism numbers for the day and season.

The city will determine a certain threshold of tourists, after which people will be required to pay higher sums. Travellers are encouraged to book in advance to avoid price increases.

Does the payment have to be made in advance?

The government said that nobody would be denied entry to Venice, meaning a pre-registration is not necessary. However, the mayor said that those who book their visit in advance would be “rewarded”. The reward will likely discount the fee.

How will the system work? Where do I pay?

According to the City of Venice, the payment is an alternative to the city tax. It will be required from every person that goes to the old city centre of Venice, as well as other major tourist destinations and islands in the region.

READ ALSO: 16 surprising facts about Venice to mark 16 centuries of the lagoon city

A single payment guarantees access to the old town and the smaller islands.

Tourists will be able to pay through an online and “multilingual” platform where they will receive a QR code to present in case of controls. Tickets should also be available to buy in connection with public transport – so if you are arriving by train, it will be possible to buy the train ticket and the entry pass together.

Who is excluded or exempt from the payment?

There are several exceptions to the payment, according to the website. Among them are residents from the Comune di Venezia, those who work or study there, and those who own homes in the city.

Additionally, exceptions include those born in the Comune di Venezia, children under six years of age, people with disabilities and their accompanying person, public workers, volunteers, people visiting family members, prisoners, or attending funerals, and many others.

Residents of the Veneto region “up to the thresholds that will be set by a specific Council resolution” are also exempt.

Those who stay overnight and, therefore, already pay the city tax through their hotel or short-term rental booking are also exempt from the fee.

The city of Murano, in the metropolitan region of Venice (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

What about people arriving on cruises?

Venice is a very popular stop for cruise ships and people visiting the city on a cruise tour will also have to pay the fee as they disembark in the old town. However, the City of Venice said they might determine a lump-sum measure in agreement with the relevant carriers.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

Which smaller islands are included?

Only one ticket and payment is required for those travelling to multiple islands, including Venice. The islands that are part of the group are:

  • Lido di Venezia
  • Pellestrina
  • Murano
  • Burano
  • Torcello
  • Sant’Erasmo
  • Mazzorbo
  • Mazzorbetto
  • Vignole
  • S. Andrea
  • La certosa
  • S. Servolo
  • S. Clemente
  • Poveglia

What if I simply don’t pay?

If you fail to produce proof of payment or that you are exempt from the fee, the sanction is from €50 to €300. The fine is the same in the case of people making false statements trying to obtain exemptions or reductions.

Additionally, visitors who don’t pay in advance will have to pay the full €10 fee.

For more info click here.

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