Recent Updates:

18 February 2024 | Colosseum: Following consultation with members we have published a Memorandum setting out likely business impact of proposed new ticketing set-up. This will feed into continued dialogue with the authorities.

02 February 2024 | Following a meeting with Parco Archeologico del Colosseo  we have published notes of our current understanding of what to expect with the change to a new ticketing provider in Colosseum – update 2nd February 2024 below.

18 December 2023 | Further delay to changes at Colosseum: While the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo (part of the Ministry of Culture) has signed an agreement with a new ticketing system provider (CNS Servizi), on 18th December it was announced that the current provider (CoopCulture) would remain in place until 30th April 2024. More information about what to expect in Colosseum section below.

Access to attractions is fundamental to ETOA’s operators members, whether they produce multi-day tours often sold over a year in advance, or sell experiences bought via platforms when visitors are in destination. Cultural tourism is central to Europe’s economic success, providing necessary revenue to safeguard assets which attract visitors from around the world. Its long-term success is a strategic priority.

The online marketplace has transformed the business environment, but its impact is uneven. Some major attraction still lack APIs that allow live inventory to be shared with authorised B2B clients. Business rules vary, especially for groups, and there is insufficient transparency. The rise of nominative ticketing has added unwelcome complexity, mixing uneasily with data protection rules and platform regulation.

First-time visitors will often wish to visit the most famous attractions, but the organised travel industry is well-placed to encourage repeat visitors to explore other places, which aligns well with destination sustainability strategies. ETOA’s priorities are therefore to encourage good practice in distribution and capacity optimisation, and also to enable and support product development and diversification.

Product development and diversification

 

ETOA’s events provide an efficient opportunity for attractions and destinations to target international buyers looking for new product. As ‘must-see’ attractions become less practical as inclusions in multi-day programmes due to complexity and uncertainty about availability and ticketing, this opportunity is growing.

Product diversification is fundamental to tourism long-term economic and social sustainability. While visitor flow management tools using real-time data are available, they do not affect pre-booked inclusions in multi-day tours. The travel industry’s ability to influence where visitors go makes us an essential partner for destinations.

ETOA’s membership includes a range of attractions, destinations and platforms interested in getting new product to market, and enhancing visitor experience. Less well-known attractions with an appealing offer for cultural tourism that seeking to develop visitor flows throughout the year are encouraged to get in touch with us.

Addressing operational issues

 

Demand for Europe’s cultural tourism destinations continues to grow; operating conditions change. These may relate to coach access or other logistical constraints, but it is the business conditions imposed by attractions on B2B clients, together with lack of certainty of availability, that cause the most problems.

The impact is felt differently across various business models. Operators selling tours over a year in advance need to secure product otherwise they with have to find alternatives. Failing to meet expectations of clients who have paid in advance is highly problematic. Conversely, some operators first source product, then re-sell.

ETOA works in two ways to support its members. First, to argue for good practice in distribution. This entails transparency, appropriate use of technology, and proper recognition of bona fide operators of all types and sizes. Second, to provide insight to attractions and destinations about how the industry works.

Operational Information

Where a country is listed below, we currently feature content about recent developments or practical problems at one or more of its attractions. These may range from changes in business rules or capacity management to refunds policy, booking horizons and ticketing requirements.

While best efforts have been made to verify the accuracy of the information below, it should be used as guidance only. If you have updated information please contact policy@etoa.org.

Italy

General information

A booking fee is applicable for groups visiting the Basilica, regardless if the visit is guided or not. More information here.

For non-guided visits, the fee is €1.00 per person, which must be paid online.

It is also possible to pay the fee at the Information Office, located off the Lower Plaza of the Basilica, but we have been informed this may change; we will monitor the situation closely.

The visit must not exceed 35 minutes.

The fee is €2.00 for guided groups with own radio-headset and €2.50 for guided groups without radios (as they receive the headsets from the basilica).

While the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo (part of the Ministry of Culture) has signed an agreement with a new ticketing system provider (CNS Servizi), on 18th December it was announced that the current provider (CoopCulture) would remain in place until 30th April 2024.

See ‘Colosseum – update 2nd February 2024’ for latest information about proposed ticketing policy.

In response, we have developed a Memorandum aggregating member concerns as basis for continue dialogue, indicating the likely adverse impact – especially if the quota available to the travel trade reduces.

In December 2023, ETOA attended a meeting in Rome along with other associations. Preliminary information as follows. We will continue to stay in close touch with the authorities, and provide dated updates on this page.

Ticket Distribution

  • It is confirmed that CNS Servizi will start on 1st May 2024 with 48 months contract.
  • The distribution of tickets will go through 3 channels (distribution % TBC):
    • B2C – it will be possible to buy 8 tickets per transaction for individuals and 25 tickets per transaction for groups.
    • B2B – system not ready yet – details to be confirmed.
    • Onsite – details to be confirmed.
  • Name on the tickets will remain compulsory:
    • B2C – name change allowed until 7 days before the visit
    • B2B – name change allowed until 3 days before the visit (already in place)
  • The new distribution process will follow 4 main things:
    • Transparency
    • Quality
    • Sustainability
    • Accessibility
  • API connection will not be available immediately but may be implemented in the future
  • Selling window:
    • B2C – it will probably remain the same (30 days in advance)
    • B2B – 1 year
    • Onsite – TBC
  • All B2B contracts will have 1-year validity
  • Final Price will remain 18€ for the Colosseum tickets, 24€ for the Pass
  • The capacity will increase 200 people per hour (2000 per day). Therefore total capacity will be 3200 people per hour (currently 3000).
  • All operators will have the ability to work with the Colosseum; accreditation process may begin from mid February. Instructions on how to apply for tickets will be published on the Parco website: www.colosseo.it (operators will need to provide some documents – details to follow).
  • There will be rules to be respected and the Parco will monitor closely all the tickets bought from the travel trade.
  • No single tickets can be sold in any way – it must be packaged with a service (guided tour). A paper map is not considered a service.
  • For each group of 25 people there must be a travel guide. A group of 40 people will require 2 guides.

Update following meeting in Rome on 1st February 2024

Following discussion from a closed meeting on 1st February with various domestic stakeholders and ETOA, below represents our best understanding of the current position and intentions once new partner is in place. Please note that we cannot be responsible for any reliance on this information: we will publish any official news as soon as practical.

Latest activity: Following consultation with members, we have prepared a Memorandum on expected business impact as basis for continued engagement with the authorities.

  1. Regulatory framework (Regolamento): detailed rules are currently being finalised and by the end of February there will be a public announcement addressing operators. Once published, operators can express interest. The objective of the Parco is to provide a window of a couple of weeks to receive and asses required documentation before the end of March in order to grant access to the B2B platform and define allotments.
  2. Documents required: most probably, Operators will need to provide up-to-date business data (e.g. registered balance sheets), information on the company, overall business volumes, licenses (e.g. TO licenses or similar), insurances; DURC, “fondo di garanzia” for Italian companies. Also, each applicant will be asked to estimate volumes from the sales of the Colosseum’s related products, insights on distribution channels and characteristics of their offer. This information will be key for the Parco to better understand the actual size of the B2B segment before assigning allotments.
  3. Availability for B2B: there’s no final decision on how many tickets will be given to B2B. The Parco is starting from an assumption of at least 25% of the total (current quota is 50% B2B and 50% B2C. The Parco mentioned that they will start at 25% for B2B and accept it will probably increase; they are open to discussion. Based on the existing assumptions, each operator should not be granted more than 500 tickets per day, which might increase once the Parco will finalises its decision.
  4. Assignment of the allotments: once a B2B operator is approved, they should be allowed to access a given number of tickets, which they will be able to reserve via the B2B portal (a completely new platform to be released). Each ticket reservation will incur a per-ticket fee (diritto di prelazione) which will may differ depending on the time of visit: peak hours will incur higher fees, while off-peak times will benefit from reduced rates. The preliminary hypothesis is to ask for basic non-refundable fee set at 3 EUR, with names to be submitted no later than 3 days before the scheduled visit. Unreserved/unassigned tickets will be taken back and made available to other channels.
  5. No deposits: in order to access the B2B portal there will be no deposit needed and payment should be done only by credit card or wire transfer. Apparently, no other deposits (e.g., guarantee deposits) will be required, and so far as we know there does not appear to be any requirement envisaged that will affect eligibility of non-EU buyers.
  6. Timeframe: as the switch from CoopCulture to the new set-up is 100% confirmed from the 1st May, the Parco is aiming to open the new portal to approved operators from 1st April.
  7. Booking horizon: it should be confirmed that all B2B operators will have the right to book up to 1 year in advance, whereas B2C bookings will not.
  8. Testing phase: 2024 will be considered as a test year and the idea is to have an annual review, especially on allocation mechanisms et alia.
  9. Groups: Groups will need to have 25 visitors max per guide, although operators have requested some flexibility (e.g. 26 or 27 not incurring need for second guide). The Parco is considering this, but for now no change is expected. In due course, we expect it will become mandatory for each guided group to enter with radio headsets.
  10. Sale of tickets: no ticket will be available for pure reselling. The definition of value-added extra service will be detailed in the “Regolamento” in due course. Ancillary services will need to add real value, but no detail was given, just a few examples to illustrate what will not be accepted (e.g., ticket + map, ticket + video). In general, emphasis is placed on the importance of ticket traceability and the provision of quality ancillary services.

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