Plans to guarantee a higher quality of beach services in Italy at regulated prices got the green light on Monday, February 15th, with unanimous approval of a draft law on the future of coastal tourism.
Lidos and other businesses occupying beaches will be more tightly regulated under new rules, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, with tighter criteria on everything from ease of access for the disabled to environmental impact,
The cost of renting beach equipment, such as umbrellas and sunbeds, is also expected to be capped according to the draft proposal.
New rules will promote “a fair ratio between rates and quality of service for everyone, including for the disabled,” reports the Ansa news agency, though no further information was immediately available about how prices may change.
The proposal came after consumer watchdogs correctly predicted that lidos would hike their prices in 2021 to make up for losses and cover extra costs related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Research by consumer study institute IRCAF found that June 2021 prices to rent two loungers and an umbrella ranged from €10 per day on some Italian beaches to a staggering €50 on others.
The draft law includes new rules intended to prevent the monopolisation of large swathes of sandy areas and free up Italy’s increasingly privatised beaches.
It envisages “an adequate balance between state-owned areas and free or equipped free areas”.
There will be a new limit on how many lidos each individual can own, and a requirement for future lido owners to ensure free access to the beach.
A report by environmental association Legambiente last year warned that it’s getting harder to find a spot to sunbathe for free, as nearly 43 percent of Italy’s sandy beaches are now occupied by private lidos, campsites, resorts or other businesses.
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In some parts of Italy as much as 70 percent of sandy coast is taken up by lidos and other concessions, while the so-called Romagna Riviera, the stretch of the Adriatic Coast around Rimini, is now almost impossible to access for free with 90 percent of beaches in Rimini in private hands and 100 percent in Gatteo.
From January 1st, 2024, tenders will reportedly open for those hoping to run lidos on Italy’s beaches based on new criteria.
More parties will be able to apply, including micro-businesses and third-sector organisations.
Those who have had this type of business as their only source of income in the previous five years will be given first right of refusal in the tenders.
The plans are expected to be passed into law within the next six months, according to Italian media reports.