The European Tours Operators Association (ETOA) is calling for dialogue with the Rome authorities over what it calls ‘draconian restrictions’ imposed on tourist coaches.
Last November the authorities restricted access to St Peter by closing the use of Via della Conciliazione. Any coach wishing to either pick up or drop off groups now had to use the enclosed parking terminal at the Janiculum Hill or a point 1.5 kms away. Another decision, taken last week, limits the number of permits issued to access central Rome to 300 per day. This, the authority claims, is to handle the many tens of thousands who arrive in groups as pilgrims or visitors.
ETOA said it has long been concerned at the logistics involved in these restrictions. In an open letter to the authority, the ETOA said: “We recognise there are challenges faced by Rome. The solution must lie in consulting with the industry: coaches are an extension of public transport; they ease congestion by removing people from cars. However, up until now suggestions from the travel trade have fallen on deaf ears.
“ETOA remains disturbed at the abrupt introduction of draconian restrictions. The situation at the Janiculum terminal is already proving to be stressful, and this is before the main season arrives. The current arrangements do no service to Rome or its visitors.
“We would ask the Commune of Rome to meet again with the industry to seek a better outcome.”
With over 600 members, ETOA is a trade association for tour operators and suppliers with business in across Europe