City tourism: Operators Update

March 2018

This update contains news of some changes proposed at very short notice that will be in effect soon. We will send interim updates as necessary if any of these new procedures are modified. While ETOA is in close dialogue with attractions and destinations we welcome first-hand information from operators so these updates may be as useful as possible.


Red Light District – new regime for walking tours
• A new regime governing organised walking tours will be in force from 1.4.18.
• Proposed group size maximum is 20, with behavioural guidelines as per 2017 covenant, click here to download the full document.
• Guides must register. We will publish information as to how this may happen as soon as we have it.
• Area subject to proposed regulations is the same as that described in covenant documents.
• 23h00 will remain the latest end time.
• Guides will be asked to stop if group too large and leave area, or will be fined c. €190-€200. It is not clear if behavioural infringement by group member will
lead to same result, and/or if warnings will accumulate.

Industry reaction: Limiting group size to 20 rather than 25 appears arbitrary given previous guidelines. ETOA understands that a legal challenge to the regulatory proposals is under consideration. If members will be affected by the proposals and would like to discuss further, please contact us.

Background: We understand that the Gemeente’s stated reason for the proposed regulation is that, although 52 organisations signed a covenant to follow voluntary guidelines, enough did not such as to render the scheme ineffective; some run large groups going into controlled area. Monitoring suggested that there was insufficient variance in a week, and that volume never got low enough, to consider introducing restrictions only for some days / times of day. How to address anti-social behaviour / nuisance caused by other visitors is under consideration via public-information initiatives with airlines etc. The assumption is that organised tours will be controlled because the legislative framework allows regulation of commercial activity. There are no regulatory means apart from normal public order legislation to address the rest. Handhaving officers will patrol, as will regular police. City hosts are operating from Wednesdays to Saturdays, part of whose role will be to encourage compliance with the behavioural guidelines. It is expected that the regime will be in place for c.18 months and will then be reviewed. It is reported that police and emergency services have said that congestion is becoming sufficiently acute that, on occasions, emergency vehicles would be unable to get through. The situation is not yet critical.

Coach Access – further restriction

Existing regulation restricts access to the historic centre for 7.5t vehicles to certain routes and drop-off points. Further traffic regulations are expected to coincide with the scheduled opening of the new metro on 22.7.18; these are not yet confirmed. Members may have heard that proposals for a system of paid-for ‘exemptions’ to be allowed within the restricted area have been put on hold and may be abandoned. Following a meeting last week, the Gemeente recognised the proposals were impractical. We will keep you informed about any developments as soon as we know more. For further information, please see: This website gives traffic and parking information in Dutch, English, German and Spanish.


Alhambra – Monitoring Commission
The Monitoring Commission at the Alhambra held the first meeting for 2018 on February 2nd, with 25 attendees among which all levels of local and regional government were represented, together with various representatives from local, regional, national and international associations. Two points arising will affect operations:
• Due to security requirements imposed by national government, as of May 1st the Alhambra will require names of visitors. Operators will be required to send group participant names three days prior to the day of the visit; we will inform you about the exact procedure the moment Alhambra let us know how it will be done. Name changes will be possible up to 10-15% of the total.
• In an effort to address agents’ and operators’ concerns, the Patronato intends to develop an advance booking system for a proportion of operators’ demand that is subject to a daily quota. More long-distance plans are under discussion, e.g. possibility of booking 10% of each certified agency’s quota one year in advance, up to limit of 120 per day; 20k overall. We will provide more information when we have it.


Coach operations

• Contrary to previous advice, we have now been informed that it is permitted to drop off and pick up passengers and luggage without a permit, providing the vehicle moves off directly.

• The engine must be switched off between 8am and 9am, no permit is required

• Operators may not use sequential Zone 1 permits that, combined, exceed 6 hours between 9am and 8pm.

• Operators may use more than one permit between 9am and 8pm proving that total duration does not exceed six hours. For example, a morning permit and a shorter permit late afternoon.

• Operators will be liable to a fine of €242 as soon as the 6hrs is exceeded.

• In case of late vehicle replacement, the registration on the permit may be changed before the first declaration.

• All vehicles travelling in Paris must display a Crit’Air (air criteria) sticker. Coaches registered before 1 October 2006, Euro standards 0 – 1 – 2 – 3, are banned.

• There are 56 designated places for coaches to pick up/drop off passengers. In addition, there are delivery areas as well as places within the immediate vicinity of hotels, and sports and cultural venues, to pick up/drop off passengers.

• General summary of new system Parking charges apply to all coaches in Paris 24/24 and 7/7; a ‘PASS Autocar’ is obligatory in order to park. Paris is divided into 2 fare zones: Central zone (Z1): extending from the 1st to the 11th arrondissement; peripheral zone (Z2): extending from the 12th to the 20th arrondissement.
The duration of the parking time depends on the zone:
• Zone 1: 2 / 3 / 4 / 6 hours
• Zone 2: 4 / 6 / 12 / 24 hours
The PASS Autocar is available for subscribers and occasional users. It is cheaper to buy the PASS Autocar in advance and online. The cost depends on the type of PASS, the duration, the parking zone, and Euro classification of the coach. For example: 2 hours parking in zone 1, or 4 hours in zone 2 costs from €15 (newer vehicles) to €90 (Euro 4 coaches) for subscribers, and from €89.50 (online purchase) to €99 (payment onsite) for occasional users. Further information can be found via

Louvre Museum Changes in ticketing are taking place. At time of writing no official information has been published; what follows is our current understanding:

• Individual tickets will no longer be available to purchase in advance, they must be purchased directly at the museum via the machines or at the counter and used on that day. They cost €15 if purchased on the spot; €17 if purchased online.

• Adult groups: reservation costs €75 euros, each ticket €17.

• Student group reservations must still be done by phone or e-mail. The Louvre will charge a standard fee of €70 per group of 30 (maximum group size). Any tours with group sizes >30 will be split evenly and charged €70 per sub-group. One free adult per 30 students; thereafter, additional adults charged €17 each. Students age is up to 25 years old for EU citizens. Non-EU citizens 18 – 25 have to pay full price.

• If schools book directly (i.e. not through an operator) then teachers can normally go for free as long as they provide a letter with school details.


Colosseum, ticketing

From 26th February, it has been possible to purchase entrance tickets for the Colosseum with scheduled entrance time for March 2018. From 14th March it will be possible to purchase entrance tickets with scheduled entrance time for the Colosseum, the Underground, Belvedere and the Stern entrance, for April, May and June 2018.*

Payment is required for all the tickets at the moment of booking.

Tickets purchased cannot be reimbursed or moved to another date or to another time slot on the same day. Free scheduled tickets can be collected directly at the ticket office. Reservation fee will be applied. Groups must have a minimum of 14 participants and a maximum of 50; a reservation is required. Visitors with individual tickets (full or reduced) must use the entrance for individuals, not the one for groups or the stern entrance.

* Stern entrance is at the back of the monument and gives access to the lower part of Colosseum. Companies can choose which entrance to use: the regular group entrance or the Stern entrance: to use this one, groups must be led by an accredited guide –guida turistica with a Patentino-, or a tour leader, and must have a name list of all visitors

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