ROME: Tourists to be hit with huge fines if they buy fake goods from beach vendors any tourist who’s sunbathed on an Italian beach will have spotted the hordes of beach vendors selling knock off hats, sunglasses and ‘designer’ handbags.
The Italian government has how hinted that it wants to introduce fines to punish any hoidaymakers who purchase goods from these traders, as well as the vendors themselves.
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s hardline interior minister, says the vendors sell fake brands and evade tax which damages legitimate businesses.
Holidaymakers who buy from the migrant vendors will have their items confiscated and will be fined between €2,500 (£2,212) and €15,500 (£13,715) under a new decree – expected to be rolled out this summer.
The vendors – who mostly come from West Africa and Bangladesh – could be fined up to €7,000 (£6,194).
Tourists who pay for massages and tattoos from unauthorized vendors will also be hit with fines.
“We need to stop the invasion (of vendors) on the beaches, and also stop the sale of counterfeit goods,” Salvini told business association, Confesercenti.
Trade in fake goods is worth up to €22 million a year in Italy, estimates Confesercenti, meaning the tax authorities miss out on billions in revenue.
In the first half of 2017, the Guardia Finanza tax police confiscated €265 million worth of counterfeit goods, including bags, shoes, clothing and accessories, reported The Telegraph.
Police will be patrolling beaches to enforce the new rules, with Local police, Carabinieri paramilitary police and the Guardia Finanza tax police all enrolled in the campaign to crack down on unauthorised vendors.
Italy holidays: Italy’s populist government wants to introduce fines of up to €15,000 for tourists who buy fake goods Getty Images
Italy holidays: Italy’s populist government wants to introduce fines of up to €15,000 for tourists
La Stampa reports “At the center of the project there is the strengthening of the collaboration between law enforcement and the municipal police of beach areas.
“Salvini thinks of resorting to the European funds of legality, a possibility to be verified, since no EU country draws on those funds to pay overtime to the police.”
In a recent speech, Mr. Salvini said his aim was to “not only to guard the Italian coastlines from the assault of illegal street vendors, but also to monitor who rents their lodgings and warehouses for the goods”.
Tourism in Italy has been the subject of a lot of media coverage after residents from Venice took to the streets to protest anti-tourist segregation barriers that keep tourists and locals apart, attacking the barriers and tearing them down.
As Venice tourism reaches an all-new high, the city is no longer able to accommodate the vast number of visitors despite its income relying heavily on tourism.
In an attempt to control the crowds, city officials installed metal barriers to segregate the tourists and residents. The revolt has raised questions over whether Italy is safe for tourists to visit.
The country has been plagued by tensions after months of political lockdown ended with Luigi di Maio, of the Five Star Movement, and Salvini joining forces in a coalition causing emotions to run high.