Hotels in Rome cut their rates by up to half as they battle to entice handful of tourists.
Rome's hotels are slashing their rates, in some cases by 50 per cent, in a desperate bid to attract the few tourists visiting the Eternal City this summer.
The capital's hospitality sector, decimated by the covid-19 crisis, is struggling to survive, with many hotels either closed or with only a handful of rooms occupied.
The city's luxury hotels are finding it particularly tough, with the absence of wealthy tourists from America, Asia and Russia, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
This has led to drastic action by an "exhausted" sector, with hotel room prices being halved, according to Giuseppe Roscioli of hotel federation Federalberghi.
"There has been a small return to tourism, but in recent weeks the customers in the city for work have totally disappeared," Roscioli told Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which gave a few examples of the struggle faced by hoteliers.
The Condotti Palace, a four-star hotel near the Spanish Steps, is offering a double room in the week before the national Ferragosto holiday at €67.
The four-star Milton Hotel near the Basilica di S. Giovanni in Laterano offers a double room for €67, while the four-star Hotel della Conciliazione on Via di Borgo Pio near St Peter's rents a room for just €65, half the price of last year.
Francesco Gatti, head of the Rome branch of hoteliers' association Assohotel, told La Repubblica that the hotels that have chosen to reopen have done so to "stay on the market," even by getting into debt, in a bid to "hold out until March, when hopefully a few more tourists will return."
So who are the tourists in Rome visiting this summer? Europeans: French, Spanish, British, and naturally Italians.
Despite the difficulties faced by hoteliers, and Italy's attempts to attract tourists, visitors to the Eternal City are still hit with a tourist tax in addition to their hotel bill.
"The highest in Italy" - Gatti told La Repubblica - "A couple who comes to the city in a double room in a 4-star hotel spends €12 per day. Compared to €5.40 per person in Paris and €2.50 in Barcelona."
For this reason, Gatti says he has written to the city to request that Rome "eliminate the tourist tax, at least until 2021."
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