The governor of the Italian island of Sardinia, Renato Soru, has applied a new luxury tax on boats and private jets landing in Sardinia from the 1 June. The Sardinian airport at Olbia is the busiest airport in Europe during the summer months for private jets, last year it was used by more than 13,000 of them.

The tax is only applicable to non-residents of the island and is causing complaints from tour operators who say that the excessively high charges will encourage luxury boat owners to sail from Corsica to Sicily without stopping at Sardinia. In future a 30 m motor powered boat spending a night at Portorotondo will be asked to pay a tax of 605 (payable at the post office) compared to 219 at Ajaccio in Corsica or 300 at Civitavecchia on the coast of Lazio. The tax on sail boats landing in Sardinia is half that of motor powered boats.

The new tax has been given extra publicity recently because the skipper of the more than 120 m long mega-yacht belonging to Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has contacted the authorities to enquire about the new tax. So far a booking for the boat has not been made.