City tourism: Operators Update

August 2019

This newsletter contains important information, in order to avoid fines, for all operators sending EU tour guides (including those working on the premises of an accompagnatore/tour manager) to Italy on a temporary and occasional basis.

We have just published a new member exclusive resource on ETOA’s website on European destinations, currently this includes Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris and Rome, as well as the respective countries. More destinations will be added over time. The pages include practical and up-to-date operational information on tourism tax, access & mobility, attractions, guiding regulation, public holidays, local events and information about ETOA’s local activity and practical and operational information about the destinations.

Featured destinations are prioritised due to operational complexity and the volume of business brought to them by ETOA’s operator members. Over time, more will be added. We are constantly seeking improvements, so if you have additional information to add or if you are experiencing operational challenges throughout Europe, please contact

To access the individual destination pages, you will need an ETOA login. If you are not able to login, please contact




Since the formation of a new government in the UK, ETOA will update materials on the Brexit page of the website when there is new information.


Climate and coaching: ETOA spoke at a ‘Climate Friendly Travel’ roundtable at the European Parliament last week. Those present included new MEPs, climate scientists and industry. The role of private coaching to manage emissions and congestion was discussed in context of urban access and infrastructure needs. Professor Geoffrey Lipman gave a presentation on the SUNx network. More information available here.

Product diversification: The European Commission funds a programme called the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN). This is intended to recognise good practice in tourism and promote less well-known destinations in Europe. They wish to evaluate its impact. To be effective, this programme should also be used by industry as a resource for product development. ETOA has been asked to give feedback.

Members are encouraged to review the EDEN destinations and the EDEN programme materials and please email any comments as soon as practical. If you had not previously heard of this initiative, that would also be very useful feedback.


The most recent ‘Value Added Travel’ newsletter from Ellman Wall Bennett is available here. Please forward to colleagues in Finance and Business Control departments as necessary.

Visa Policy

Following publication in the EU Official Journal on 12 July, the revised Schengen Visa Code will apply from 02 February 2020. By that date, member states should have implemented the various changes agreed, including acceptance of applications up to 6 months prior to travel. We had previously hoped that the application date change could be implemented ahead of other more technical changes. Unfortunately, this is not the case. More information here. We intend to survey members on current experience and impact of visa facilitation in emerging markets such as Indonesia and Philippines. For any other suggestions, please contact the team.




Paris – Tower Montparnasse Observation Deck: The attraction will remain open in 2020 despite previous renovation plans. At this point this is all the information we have. We are not aware when potential renovation works will commence.

Paris – Louvre: Since the opening of tickets for the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition on 18 June, the museum has introduced a new online booking system shared with the general public. Operators are experiencing online waiting times up to one hour, including if tickets need amendments. It is believed the waiting time will reduce when the exhibition has finished (24 October 2019 – 24 February 2020).

Furthermore, operators are reporting waiting times of 30-45 minutes to see Mona Lisa now the painting is moved (as reported in our July update). Please click here for more information regarding the move and Louvre in general.

Paris – Coach Access: New measures have been announced implementing temporary vehicle restrictions when ozone pollution thresholds are exceeded. This is in addition to the permanent low emission zones. The vehicles affected must then conform to at least Crit’Air 2 standard but tourist coaches are exempt from this temporary restriction. Further information can be found in the Paris destination page.


Rome city council has updated existing legislation that dates all the way back to 1946 with the objective of improving city life for residents and tourists. Reports have been made that the legislation is being enforced and fines have been imposed. We encourage members to pass on the information to their clients to avoid fines. The official legislation can be found here and here. We have listed the main rules on our website.

Due to recent changes and limitations for group bookings, complicated booking systems and a lack of notification and consultation for Italian attractions, ETOA have sent an official letter to Beniculturali (Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities) addressing the issues and calling for a better consultation with the industry.

Amalfi – tour guide fined: We have recently been made aware of a tour guide escorting a group in Amalfi being fined €3000 for illegal guiding. The guide was crossing the street after disembarking the coach to bring the group to the historical centre and was neither guiding nor talking at the time the police approached.

We recommend operators to warn their guides when leading groups around Amalfi. We also recommend all guides to send through a “Dichiarazione preventiva” before entering Italy. If a guide receives a fine, they should not pay the fine as they have 30 days to oppose. Information about guiding in Italy and the “Dichiarazione preventiva” can be found here.

Rome – Colosseum: ETOA met with Coop Culture in July to discuss operators’ current challenges with the reservation system. Operators have reported challenges when trying to amend tickets and have received contradicting information about the procedure. A new procedure is now in place and operators can add tickets to their reservations (if any are available in the specific time slot) by contacting the call centre. You can read more about the procedure and other updates about the Colosseum here.

Rome – Galleria Borghese: On 04 July the museum changed their reservation policy for guided group bookings, starting from 01 August 2019. Changes include a €70 group fee for guided groups of 5-15 people as well as a limit of maximum five group bookings per time slot. In July we met with the ticket operator to understand the new regulation. You can read more about the changes as well as our meeting and next steps here.

Rome – Vatican: 2020 ticket rates are now available. Please click here for more information.

Venice – tourist tax: The new ‘landing contribution’ starting date has been postponed from 01 September 2019 to 01 January 2020.


Amsterdam – ETOA 30th Anniversary drinks reception: We are celebrating our anniversary with members and industry partners in Amsterdam on 03 September 2019. If you are in Amsterdam and would like to hear more, please click here. Spaces are limited!

Amsterdam Geemente’s 2018-2022 programme for the city: ‘City in Balance – Towards a new equilibrium between quality of life and hospitality’, can be found here. It gives an indication of their ambition, goals and measures for the city’s future with regards to nuisance, access etc.


Barcelona – Sagrada Familia: We have established contact with the Sagrada Familia and are working on a potential communication plan with them. We will communicate updates when possible.

Granada – Alhambra: Due to recent changes in government and summer holidays, the meetings with Alhambra have paused. We hope to meet with them again in September and will communicate any useful updates when possible.

Girona – New coach parking arrangements: Previously coaches parked just outside the old city on Paseo José Canalejas with Calle Bereguer Carnicer, but since 01 March 2019 coaches must now drop off/pick up at the bus station for a fee of €5.45 per day, or coaches can use Fontajau Pavillion free of charge. Neither of these options are located within the old city and result in a 10 to 15 minutes walk. The Costa Brava Tourist Board are in talks with the City Hall regarding these new arrangements. Further information is available here or please contact our Country Representative Joanne Cadier.

Destination and Policy update

 Receive the latest news on operational developments in destinations across Europe



This content is exclusive to ETOA members

Login here to access it now


Forgot your password?

Not a member yet?


The ETOA membership opens invaluable networking opportunities to your business, allows you to gain access to critical insights and information and contributes to the campaign for a better regulatory environment in Europe.

  • Connect with the global travel trade
  • Stay informed of insights, regulations and changes
  • Be supported in shaping the tourism landscape
Enquiry now