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Hotel Industry

Italian hotel industry planning street march against new tax

Mario Masciullo, eTN  Jan 28, 2011

ITALY (eTN) - The Board of Directors of Federalberghi-Confturismo met today in Rome in an extraordinary session and decided an immediate protest declaring a state of agitation against the introduction of the dreaded hotel tax, which is included in the decree on fiscal municipal federalism.

If it is confirmed in the coming hours, this unfortunate case of harassment against Italian and foreign consumers, that is written in the Italian resolution of the Board of Directors of the Federation, then 34,000 Italian hotels will be invited to not accept reservations for March 17, the day of celebration of the unification of Italy.

That day it is expected that more than 2 million Italian and foreign tourists will stay in hotels all over Italy. The economic loss of income could lead the Treasury to lose some 100 million euros of direct and indirect taxation.

The Federation has also decided more extreme forms of protest and initiatives that will see a march of the workers of the category if the bicameral Commission on Federalism will not give a positive sign in favor of companies that support the daily economy and employment in Italy.

Following two consecutive years of serious economic crisis, the Italian hotel industry lay in a state of enormous difficulty and, while open to discuss a structured tax form, it claims that the government and parliament granted the issue due consideration. The January-December 2010 balance for the hotel industry poured a cold shower on that statement.

"The further decline in tourist arrivals and hotel occupancy recorded in December 2010 (-2.7% vs. 2009), claims Bernabo Bocca, president of Federalberghi-Confturismo, is worrying, especially for a year that has seen a stagnation in the overall market for number of arrivals, a dramatic decline of workers, and an alarming decline in turnover.

The results emerging from the monthly monitoring data carried out by Federalberghi indicate a decrease of 2.7% (in nights) in December, vs. December 2009, which carries, on an annual basis, the overall result from January to December (compared to January-December 2009) to a modest +0.4%.

Finally, on the employment side, the permanent employees suffered a decline of 3.6% from January to December 2010 and 0.7% among the temporary workers.
"The difficult scenario," according to Mr. Bocca, "is penalized by a more than negative 2009, making it impossible to introduce a tax that weighs only on the Italian hotel industry, which would risk the collapse if over burdened with any hypothetical new tax."

"A tax of this kind, required by municipalities and supported by the government," according to Mr. Bocca, "is likely to continue to serve only to cover the ailing municipal coffers and could determine the weakening of the thousands of hotels that after two years of dramatic crisis, no strategic recovery plan to revamp the tourist image of Italy in the world, lack of public support, should be lying down completely devoid of logic aimed at this sector."

"We share the need that the country modernize," summarized the president of the hotel association of Italy, "and agree that the advent of fiscal federalism is certainly a critical step, but we cannot but condemn the way the government and the bicameral embarked on federalism is a narrow dead-end, in which [it] is likely to end up one of the few really productive sectors of the Italian industry."

Italian hotel industry planning street march against new tax
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