City tourism: Operators Update

January 2018

This update shows that coach tourism is subject to continued cost increase and access restrictions. Plans for Rome, in particular, will be very disruptive. The impact of tourism and capacity management are becoming political as well as practical preoccupations of destinations fortunate enough to enjoy strong demand. How best to share our cities with visitors is a growing concern for European tourism and the jobs that depend on it. They must remain competitive in terms of cost and operational practicality. Product diversification will only be part of the answer. ETOA is in close dialogue with destinations as their strategies develop, ensuring that industry’s voice is heard and that authorities are aware of the impact of proposals.


Coach access: The city intends to control further the access for coaching in the historic centre. Since coach tourism is largely not responsible for the forms of antisocial behaviour attributed to visitors that cause local resentment, ETOA is perplexed at the city’s response. Businesses within the zone will suffer. The potential economic pain is clear but the city’s gain is less apparent. We support measures to manage traffic and parking intelligently in order to benefit residents and those that work in and visit the city, so will continue to engage with local stakeholders in industry and the authorities as plans evolve. Please continue to report any specific adverse impact you experience or anticipate. For more details about the proposals (currently only in Dutch, with ancillary information in other languages), please see:


Capacity management: We are discussing with city authorities measures to mitigate congestion related to tourism. Please send reports of your experience booking Sagrada Familia, as its capacity management medium-long term is in question.


Guiding regulation: All operators and guides must now register before providing walking tours in Bruges. Any group of 25 or more must use headsets. Operators report that the new system for registering both operators and guides is relatively straightforward, recommending only that the list of companies should be listed alphabetically for ease of use.


Overnight taxes: From 1.1.18 there will be increases of: €0.50 for 1,2,3 star hotels; €0.30 for 4 star. Additional revenue will be applied to improvement of public bus system.

Coach access: Revised access charges are being discussed; we will provide more information when we have it.


Alhambra: There is continued controversy over the system of ticket requests, allocation, reservation and purchase. The administration’s position is that it hopes to increase flexibility. There is a shift to online-only booking, a group size limit of 30, and a maximum booking horizon of 3 months. There is scope to associate one group booking with another. Reports from operators are mixed. For example, late evening bookings do not suit most groups. Please continue to report your experience so our continuing dialogue with the Alhambra is well-informed.


Security: The authorities have increased police presence at key sites and transport hubs, improved on-the-spot-reporting via police equipped with tablets, and installed more security cameras. ETOA is in discussion with authorities on security at docking locations for river cruise vessels. The police are offering training to tour guides in relation to security, focusing on those working with Asian markets.

Louvre: A new ticketing system is being tested. Once in place, group reservations will be online only, and paid at time of booking to minimise cancellations. Price increases are expected for 2018.

Eiffel Tower: A new system, once implemented, will mean it is no longer possible to obtain reservations on the day at the groups desk on site; it will only be available for additional tickets to a pre-existing online booking. New rates were introduced 1.11.17: €10 for 2nd level via stairs, €16 via lift; €19 for 2nd level via stairs then lift to top level; €25 lift from ground to top level.

Paris piéton: At ETOA’s recent cultural tourism seminar at Musée Picasso, representatives from the city’s transport department presented a vision of a more pedestrianised Paris; operators discussed ‘slow’ tourism options. Presentations available here:

Coach access: Details of the new zones and tariffs are in the attachments below:
Notice utilisation ABONNE
Notice utilisation OCCASIONNEL Z1
Notice utilisation OCCASIONNEL Z2

From 1.1.18, the coach parking will be divided into two zones, the Zone 1 will be 1st to the 11th arrondissements of Paris; Zone 2 the 12th to the 20th. Passes are available for 2, 3, 4 or 6 hours’ duration. 12h and 24h pass can only be used in Zone 2. A parking permit in Zone 1 allows you to go to Zone 2 but not vice versa. The maximum parking period in Zone 1 is 6 hours. This means companies will have to calculate the rates according to the itineraries of the groups and duration of time they spend in Zone 1. For example, if your group has a day in Paris as follows, you will need two different parking spaces, one parking permit for four hours in Zone 2 plus one parking slot for two hours in Zone 1: depart hotel 09:00; visit Montmartre + lunch from 10:00 to 14:00; visit the Louvre from 15.00 to 17.00; end of service at hotel at 18:00.

ETOA will continue to focus on Paris’s transport strategy at its working group meetings.


Colosseum: Coop Culture is managing the site on a temporary basis. A new tender process has been suspended. ETOA is in discussion with Coop Culture about reservation system and delays arising from security management.

Coaching: A new set of regulations has been approved on December 5th by the Municipality. These are expected to be in force by 30 June 2018. Meanwhile, ‘annual’ passes will still be available on a pro rata basis until the new regime comes into effect. Regulation will affect vehicles with 10 seats or more (including driver). Once introduced, full-size coaches will be fully restricted from the historical centre (now called Zone C). The number of short-stay drop-off / pick-up locations will be increased and the permitted duration of their use increased for some from two to three hours; all locations will be outside Zone C.*

Annual access passes will cease; carnets of 50,100,200 and 300 passes at progressive discounts will be introduced.** Day passes will be available for Zones A and B for vehicles that require access to the city occasionally, e.g. on multi-country itineraries. Access to the Vatican area and around the Colosseum will have a daily cap and will require advance booking; proof of invitation to the Vatican will enable access free of charge, but will not allow stopping to pick up or set down along the way. Some exceptions to access the historical centre will be granted for coaches carrying: school students, people with disabilities and passengers heading towards (or coming from) hotel with 40 or more rooms. However, there will be a daily limit of 30 coaches. The immense practical difficulties in implementing such a scheme are evident. Though at least there will be transferability of carnet ‘tickets’ in the event of late change of vehicle, it is extremely hard to imagine how a daily limit of 30 coaches will do anything other than cause group tourism operators to avoid making bookings with suppliers located inside Zone C. This is confirmed by the results of ETOA’s recent survey of operators indicating that access restrictions would have a dramatic effect on local business. Much more clarification and continued urgent review is required. We will provide more concrete information as soon as we have it.

*Zone C map is here:

Overall ZTL mapping available here:

**Cheapest effective rate for a Euro 6 vehicle is €78.83, using one ‘ticket’ of a carnet of 300, rising to €108 if one of a carnet of 50.

More information available via the following link, and in the attached document ‘Rome coach restrictions 2018.detail.Nov17’, especially pages 28 and 29:

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