Italian marine industry association UCINA has confirmed that overnight visitors berthed in the country's marina resorts are now subject to a reduced rate of 10% VAT, reports IBI Magazine.
The decision stems from the government's new ‘Unblock Italy' decree, which is designed to cut red tape, promote investment and lift the economy out of recession.
"This is the percent that has always been applied in other sectors of the tourist industry," says UCINA in a statement. "For leisure boating, this is an important step towards the acknowledgment of boat tourism."
The proposal to establish marina resorts as specific areas of ports reserved for overnight tourists on their boats was accepted a few months ago in Emilia Romagna and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Its inclusion in the Unblock Italy decree is expected to make berthing for transiting boats in Italy more desirable.
It is also hoped the decision will persuade some of the 40,000 boats that fled to other countries on account of the Monti administration's policies to return to Italian waters.
The VAT reduction is only effective for 2014, but UCINA is hoping that the new rate of tax will be made permanent under Italy's national Stability Law.
"It is, however, an achievement that has established a fundamental principle. That is, there will no longer be a situation of inequality to the detriment of boat tourism facilities," says UCINA president Massimo Perotti. "Now we must work with our parliament, where MP De Micheli and Senator Fabbri have striven to support this cause and are working towards making the norm definite."
Within the entire Italian maritime industry cluster, leisure boating is said to be the greatest income and employment multiplier. A recent study carried out by the National Nautical Observatory (Osservatorio Nautico Nazionale) shows that yachtsmen spend on average nearly twice as much as other tourists.
In the meantime, the Italian government is working on reforming the Nautical Code, which would simplify customs procedures and reduce the relevant bureaucracy so that sailing under the Italian flat becomes more convenient.
At the moment, boats may sail for an unlimited time in Italian waters without having to be entered in the national register and may keep their original flag, even one from outside the EU.