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Italian tourist hopes
Tourism image map inset
The arrival of the euro as a cash currency could provide a boost to Europe's tourist industry, making travel much easier - and less costly - than before.
Italy, with its large tourist industry, is counting on the euro to help it out of the economic slowdown.
But Italy might lose out as a competitive destination compared to other Mediterranean countries where holidays are cheaper.
And many small hotels and restaurants are finding it difficult to cope with the changeover.
The Tour guide's tale
"The euro has certainly had us all on our toes and this period of double circulation has meant more work for guides and tour operators. Only a few arrivals were able to get euro from their own countries before coming to Italy and then only in limited quantities. We have had to be dealing in two currencies in bars, restaurants and shops.
What really makes things tricky is when people want to know what their local currency is worth - I know the French franc to the lire off by heart, but not what it's worth in the new money. I haven't yet had any Japanese groups and I'll be interested to see how they react.
Due to a shortage of small change some retailers have been giving back euro for euro and lire for lire. European tourists don't like that as they don't want to take a load of old lira home, and I don't want to get stuck with piles of lira notes as the February 28 deadlines approaches.
I find the number of coins - eight compared to the previous four - a nuisance and the smaller ones are quite hard to read.
Peoples' comments have been generally very positive, despite the teething problems they see it as a good thing for Europe as a whole. The Swiss are the only ones in trouble; tourists aren't going to appreciate having a euro that works all across the Continent and then having to swap it for Swiss Francs at the border.
I still believe that the euro will be a great asset for Italy, once we are all settled in to using it, and can help give us the boost to get over this difficult period for the tourist industry."

Full story:
Italian tourist gripes

Tito Mauro

NAME: Tito Mauro

HOME: Rome

AGE: 70

JOB HISTORY: Former teacher and headmaster, overseas guide for Touring Club Italiano

CURRENT JOB: Freelance tour guide
Due to a shortage of small change some retailers have been giving back euro for euro and lire for lire. European tourists don't like that as they don't want to take a load of old lira home.
I find the number of coins - eight compared to the previous four - a nuisance and the smaller ones are quite hard to read.
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