Will Hotel Tax Drive Tour Operators From Italy?

Bad news for travelers within Italy: The Telegraph is reporting that hotel taxes in Rome are set to double as of September 1. 

The increase means that people staying in a five-star hotel must pay €7 (a little bit more than $9) per person per night in addition to their room rate, up from €3.

Four-star hotel taxes are now €6 (nearly $8, up from €3); and those in three-star accommodation will now be charged €4 (up from €2); while guests in one- and two-star hotels must now pay €3 (up from €2). Guests in hostels are exempt from the tax, and campers within the city borders pay the lowest rate. B&Bs must pay €3.50 ($4.50) The tax may add as much as $147 to the cost of a one-week vacation for a family of four, according to the paper's calculations.

Tour operators are reportedly criticizing the tax hikes as it puts them in a difficult situation: The businesses must either absorb the extra cost on packages already sold, or approach those who have already paid for their trip and ask for more money. One firm estimated that the changes could cost it £120,000, or nearly $200,000. 

Tauck President Jennifer Tombaugh told the paper that the taxes could encourage tour operators to avoid Italy. “We have already begun selling our 2015 journeys with pricing calculated on rates that did not include the proposed tax increase," she said, adding that the company would now “reconsider” any planned marketing activities that would promote travel to Italy and focus instead on “other destinations that will provide a better return on our investment.”