In Italy, a tourism tax was introduced in 2011, since then it has been adopted in most of the Italian provincial capitals and tourist cities. This tax can mitigate the negative externalities caused by tourists; however, it should be carefully planned both in terms of the amount of money to be levied and in terms of the uses to be financed with the tax revenues, it could, otherwise, negatively impact the tourism sector, decreasing—rather than increasing— the social welfare. The aim of this paper is to assess the acceptability of such a tax and to examine how the tax should be designed to better meet tourists’ preferences while improving tourism sustainability. To this aim, a Contingent Valuation experiment has been performed for two Apulian touristic towns: Otranto and Castro. The results demonstrate that the willingness to pay (WTP) for the tourism tax depends not only on the vacation and the tourist type but also on how the fiscal revenues are used. If no mention is made of the use of the tax revenues, the WTP can be as low as €0.85 per person per night, which is much lower than the tax actually levied. Instead, if the tax revenues are used to improve and to protect the environment, the WTP can be as high as €3.96. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research paper estimating the WTP in the Italian context based on tax revenue use.


tourism sustainability, tourism tax, tourists’ preferences, contingent valuation

Chinese Abstract






Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.