Beach bar licenses will be up for grabs in Italy by the end of 2024

Italythe parties are close to agreeing a deadline of the end of 2024 to finalize the tenders for the lucrative contracts to manage bars and other facilities across the country beaches, politicians said, easing tensions within the ruling coalition.


Licenses to rent deckchairs and beach umbrellas are traditionally controlled by the family and passed down from generation to generation in Italy. Rival contractors say they were unfairly deprived of a slice of a major company.

“We are on the verge of finding a positive solution,” Federico D’Inca, minister for relations with parliament, told Reuters.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi earlier this year tried to reach an agreement within its national unity coalition to launch the tenders from January 1, 2024, but the center-right Forza Italia and League parties delayed approval in parliament.

They to pretend that keeping it in the family keeps costs low for beachspectators and prevents Italy‘s 7,500 kilometers of coastline from falling into the hands of large chains that might not respect local traditions.

Barring last-minute surprises, the parties should approve an amendment establishing that the current concessions remain in force until the end of 2023. The Italian authorities may extend them until December 31, 2024 at the latest to conclude the appeal process of offers.

The coalition has yet to put in place a plan to compensate outgoing dealers if they lose tenders, lawmakers told Reuters.

The reform of the licensing system is part of a bill aimed at increasing competition in the markets for goods and services, which both houses of parliament must approve this year to fulfill commitments made by Rome with the European Commission. It would help Italy to unlock 40 billion euros of post-COVID recovery funds.

The ruling parties aim to secure Senate approval no later than May 31, D’Inca added.

Beach Concessions are officially owned by the state but are rarely put out to public tender, allowing Italy‘s balneari – or beach managers – to keep a grip on amenities ranging from individual umbrella rentals to high-end bars and restaurants.

Commercial value

In 2019, the government only raised 115 million euros through the sale of beach licenses, while the activity itself is estimated at some 15 billion euros per year, according to a study by the firm Nomisma.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click on subscribe to register for Hospitality Ireland printed edition.

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