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Business protest tax on tour buses in Pompeii

Feared fees could discourage tourists to archaeological site

10 February, 19:16
Business protest tax on tour buses in Pompeii (ANSA) - Pompeii, February 10 - Businesses closed shop Monday and retailers marched in the streets of the modern town of Pompei in protest over a government plan to impose a new tax on tourist buses entering to visit the world-famous archaeological site nearby.

They said they feared the new fees would act as "a deterrent for tourists" coming to one of Italy's most iconic attractions, the ancient city of Pompeii which was encased in ash and pumice after a major volcanic eruption in 79 AD.

The proposed new tax could reach 80 euros for a tour bus entering the town.

At the same time, a local archbishop Tommaso Caputo is fighting to obtain an exemption for pilgrim buses coming to the site.

The protesters say they will next march on Rome and the offices of Tourism Minister Massimo Bray.

Local merchants say they will be hurt the hardest because visitors, especially those arriving by bus, will park further from the municipality which means tourists will miss the town of Pompei.

A nearby shopping mall offers 1,200 free parking spots where tour buses could instead decide to park, town merchants said.

They also warned that tourists will balk at paying more when they receive no additional services.