Brescia’s Tourist Tax Rise: A Threat to Its Tourism Industry?

The implementation of a tourist tax in Italy, particularly in the charming city of Brescia, has sparked widespread discussion about its potential impact on the local tourism industry. As cities across Italy grapple with the balance between welcoming tourists and managing the costs they impose on local infrastructure and services, Brescia has become a focal point of this debate. The tourist tax, or “imposta di soggiorno,” is designed to help offset these costs, but it raises concerns among stakeholders in the hospitality sector, including B&Bs, holiday rentals, and platforms like Airbnb, Booking, and Expedia, about how it might affect their businesses and the overall appeal of Brescia as a tourist destination.

This article will delve into the intricacies of the Brescia tourism tax, assessing its economic impact and its potential to alter tourism trends in the area. By comparing the contribution of minority sectors like holiday rentals and short rentals to the broader hospitality industry, including their comparison to five-star hotels, we aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of how this tax might influence the future of tourism in Brescia. From the economic implications for local businesses to shifts in tourist behavior post-tax implementation, we seek to offer insights into whether the Brescia tourist tax serves as a necessary tool for sustainability or poses a threat to the industry’s vitality.

Overview of Brescia’s Tourism Industry

Brescia, a city in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, boasts a thriving tourism industry driven by its rich cultural heritage and proximity to popular destinations like Lake Garda. [1] The city receives around 1.5 million visitors annually, attracting a diverse range of tourists, including cultural and historical enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and culinary aficionados. [1]

Current Tourism Statistics

According to recent data, the majority of visitors to Brescia come from other parts of Italy and Europe. [1] The city’s well-preserved old town, featuring numerous historical and architectural landmarks such as the Brescia Cathedral, Basilica of San Salvatore, and Piazza della Loggia, is a major draw for tourists. [1]

Key Attractions and Visitor Demographics

Brescia’s top attractions include the Brescia Castle, Roman ruins, and the Museo di Santa Giulia, which houses a collection of ancient artifacts and artworks. 1[1] The city’s visitor demographics are diverse, catering to a mix of interests, from cultural and historical exploration to outdoor activities and culinary experiences. [1]

The city’s proximity to popular destinations like Lake Garda further enhances its appeal as a tourist destination. [1] Brescia’s tourism industry plays a vital role in its economy, contributing significantly to the city’s overall economic well-being. [1]

Assessment of the New Tourist Tax

Details of the Tax Increase
Padua, Brescia, Rome, and Naples have chosen to raise their tourist tax rates to address issues related to tourism. [2] The rates and methods of application for the tourist tax vary from place to place and can depend on various factors such as the category and duration of the stay, the season, the age of the tourists, and so on. Generally, the tax is calculated based on the number of overnight stays and can be applied per person or per room. [2]

In Brescia, the city has announced summer increases in response to overtourism pressures, starting from July 1, 2024. [2] The new rates for Brescia are as follows:

Comparative Analysis Brescia with Other Cities

Category Tourist Tax per person per night
from july 01 2024
Five-star hotels 3,50 €
Four-star hotels 3,00 €
Three-star hotels 2,50 €
Two-star hotels 2,00 €
One-star hotels 2,00 €
Holiday homes 3,00 €
Tourist rentals (250% increase) 3,50 €
Houses and apartments for vacations (250% increase) 3,50 €
Youth hostels 1,50 €
Lombardy guesthouses 1,50 €
Inns 1,50 €
Bed & Breakfast 2,50 €
Farm stays 2,00 €
Outdoor accommodation and others 1,50 €

To provide context, here are the tourist taxes for some other major Italian tourist destinations:

Rome: 1-star hotel: €4.00 per night, 2-star hotel: €5.00 per night, 3-star hotel: €6.00 per night, 4-star hotel: €7.50 per night, 5-star hotel: €10.00 per night. [2]

Naples: 1-star hotel: €2.00 per night, 2-star hotel: €2.50 per night, 3-star hotel: €3.50 per night, 4-star hotel: €4.50 per night, 5-star hotel: €5.00 per night. [2]

Padua: €0.50 to €1.50 depending on the type and level of accommodation. [2]
In Padua, the increase will apply to hotels starting from July 2024, with a rise of €0.5 for establishments rated three stars and above. For other accommodations, the rate will be €2 per person per night, up to a maximum of five consecutive nights. [2]

Similarly, in Rome, the tourist tax for luxury hotels has been increased to ten euros in preparation for the Jubilee of 2025, aiming to manage the influx of visitors and improve tourist services. The increase entails rates ranging from €3.00 to €10.00 per person per night, depending on the classification of the accommodation. [2]

Naples has also revised its tourist tax upwards, with prices varying based on the category of the accommodation and potentially increasing further. The surcharge is €3 per person per night, from June 1 to September 15, 2024, for a maximum period of 5 nights. [2]

Economic Impact Analysis

The implementation of the tourist tax in Brescia and other Italian cities aims to address the challenges posed by overtourism, while generating revenue to enhance services, infrastructure, and preserve cultural and natural heritage. [3] These measures, though criticized for potentially discouraging tourism, are part of a broader effort to promote sustainable tourism practices. [3]

Short-term vs long-term effects

In the short term, the tourist tax increase may impact visitor numbers and spending, particularly in price-sensitive markets. [4] For instance, an additional €40 tax on an average hotel bill, combined with rising costs, could lead families to reduce their spending elsewhere in the local economy. [4] However, in the long run, the revenue generated from the tax can be reinvested in improving tourist services, preserving cultural and environmental assets, and promoting events and activities that enhance the overall visitor experience. [3]

Impact on local businesses

The introduction of the tourist tax may pose challenges for local businesses, particularly in areas heavily reliant on the tourism industry. [4] In regions like Cornwall, where one in five jobs is supported by the tourism sector, the administrative and collection processes for the tax could be complex and expensive. [4] Additionally, any measures that discourage consumers from booking hotel stays could potentially cripple businesses in the hospitality industry, leading to job losses. [4]

However, it is crucial to recognize the pivotal role that hospitality and leisure businesses play in local communities. [4] Many of these establishments serve as community spaces, providing workspaces, conference rooms, meeting places, local eateries, and even emergency accommodation. [4] Protecting and supporting these businesses is essential for preserving the fabric of local communities and ensuring their continued economic vitality. [4]

While the tourist tax may present short-term challenges, it is essential to strike a balance between supporting the hospitality sector’s recovery post-COVID-19 and post-Brexit, and addressing the environmental and infrastructural impacts of overtourism. [4]Sustainable tourism practices that harmonize the needs of visitors, residents, and local businesses are crucial for the long-term success of destinations like Brescia.

Tourism Trends Post-Tax Implementation

Tourism is an already well-consolidated sector that involves the exchange and consumption of goods and services, making it susceptible to various changes. [3] Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry has faced significant challenges, and the real damages will be quantifiable in a few years, when the threat of the pandemic hopefully subsides. [3]

Changes in Visitor Numbers

Research shows that the academic sector and public governance should act quickly to seek appropriate and useful solutions, as well as concrete proposals for safe travel, to help recover the tourism industry after the crisis. [3] The implementation of tourist taxes in cities like Padua, Brescia, Rome, and Naples is part of a broader strategy to address issues related to tourism and ensure sustainable management of local resources. [3]

While these measures aim to generate additional revenue for improving services and infrastructure, they have been criticized for potentially discouraging tourism. [4] Other cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Iceland, and Greece have also implemented similar measures, such as increasing tourist taxes or introducing entry fees, to combat overtourism and address the environmental impact of tourism. [4]

Adaptation Strategies by the Tourism Sector

To mitigate the disastrous effects of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, various measures have been proposed based on a multidisciplinary approach focusing on planning, business management, tourism governance, and sociological impact. [3] The research suggests that the academic sector and public governance should collaborate to develop appropriate solutions and concrete proposals for safe travel, helping the tourism industry recover after the crisis. [3]

Italian cities like Venice, Capri, and Florence have implemented strategies such as entry fees, landing taxes, and expanded limited traffic zones to regulate tourist flow and preserve the quality of life for residents. [4] The tourist tax has significantly contributed to municipal finances in 2023, demonstrating its importance in the budgets of tourist cities. [4] These cities are working towards sustainable tourism, striving to balance hospitality, environmental conservation, and harmonious coexistence between visitors and residents while respecting cultural and natural heritage. [4]


The discourse surrounding the introduction of a tourist tax in Brescia underscores the city’s dynamic engagement with sustainable tourism, balancing the needs of visitors and residents while ensuring the long-term viability of local infrastructure and cultural heritage.

It is imperative to acknowledge the disproportionate impact such policies can have on varied sectors of the tourism industry, especially on minority segments like tourist rentals. These entities, while constituting a smaller fraction of the hospitality spectrum when compared to five-star hotels, contribute significantly to Brescia’s economic and cultural richness, enhancing the visitor experience with personalized accommodations and authentic local interactions.

As the city of Brescia and its stakeholders navigate the complexities of tourism taxation and its ramifications, it is crucial for the local government and the tourism industry to consider the nuanced impacts on all sectors within the tourism industry, striving for equitable solutions that bolster sustainable growth. Efforts to mitigate the economic burden on smaller tourism contributors, such as tourist rentals, underscore the need for collaboration and innovation in sustaining Brescia’s appeal as a premier tourist destination.

To keep tourism accessible and support the resilience of the short rental sector, a gesture of solidarity on our behalf is extended: call direct +39 347 1271745 or visit, where we commit to sharing the burden of the tourist tax hike by paying half the €3.50 tax on your behalf * until the Comune di Brescia revisits the tourist tax scheme, ensuring an enjoyable and affordable visit to our beloved city.

If you disagree with the unfair treatment of minority tourism sectors in Brescia, sign their petition on to make the tax burden fairer for hard-working hosts who put their heart and soul into making you feel welcome when you visit Brescia.


What exactly is a tourist tax in Italy?
In Italy, a tourist tax is a fee imposed on visitors who stay in various types of accommodations, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, and guesthouses. This tax is collected to help fund local tourist-related services, infrastructure, and cultural or promotional activities.

What are the consequences of not paying the tourist tax in Italy?
If you do not pay the tourist tax in Italy, local authorities will enforce payment. Failure to pay this tax can result in penalties, such as being charged double the amount of the tax initially due.

Can you explain what a tourist tax is?
A tourist tax is a charge levied on visitors by some countries or cities when they stay in accommodations for a short period. This tax is most commonly encountered in the US and Europe and is typically a nominal fee charged per night.

How much does one pay for tourist tax in Italy in 2024?
The tourist tax in Italy for the year 2024 varies depending on the city. The daily rate per person can range from €1 to €7. In tourist-heavy cities like Rome, the rate is between €3 and €7 per day, while in Milan, the rates are slightly lower, ranging from €2 to €5 per day.

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