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Welcoming group tourism by coach is good for the environment and the economy

The European travel and coach travel industry expects rapid progress in solving the problem of coach tourism entry fees in Italian cities, for the benefit of local economies, citizens and visitors alike.

Brussels– The European travel and coach travel industry welcomes the recent launch of the “All-Italian Round Table”, organised under the patronage of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Italy, on the outstanding issue of coach tourism entry fees in Italian cities. This initiative will enable both city authorities and industry organisations representing the travel and tourism community in Italy to make their voice heard.

Vice President of the IRU, Graham Smith, said: “This is a unique opportunity for the industry and local Italian authorities to find a solution to one of the most problematic issues the European coach tourism industry has been facing over many years. A solution to this problem in Italy is urgently needed and would send a positive signal to tourists, businesses and policy decision makers in Europe.”

President of ECTAA, Irena Gueorguieva, also praised the initiative, and called for a constructive dialogue to dismantle barriers that are detrimental to the coach industry and Italian economy alike.

The European travel and tourism industry fully supports the requests of its Italian colleagues to:

  • End the discrimination against group tourism by coach in terms of taxes and charges levied solely on tourist coaches entering cities and tourist destinations in Italy;
  • Abandon or at a minimum reduce drastically the level of charges applicable to visiting coaches;
  • Create industry-friendly multilingual Internet-based systems to obtain timely information, register and pay fees, with a focus on group tourism by coach.

Tom Jenkins, Executive Director of ETOA, concluded, “Coach tourism is an efficient and environmentally-friendly way of bringing groups to destinations. But group tourism only works if the correct infrastructure is in place and the right welcome is extended. Year on year increases in fees are often not reflected in any noticeable improvement in facilities. This only serves to reinforce the sense that coaches are seen as a cash cow; a tour of Italy’s art cities can now cost upwards of €1000 in permits alone. Our Group Tourism charter, developed with a broad range of stakeholders, acts as a guide for cities and we hope very much that the cooperative spirit of this document will be followed in these discussions.”

The European travel and coach travel industry now expects rapid progress on this key dossier, with group tourism-friendly rules finally agreed upon, for the benefit of tourist destinations, citizens, visitors and businesses alike.


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