Assisi is a quaint little town north of Rome in Italy, nestled in the gently rolling Umbrian hills. St. Francis, one of Italy’s patron saints, was born there. There are 13th century frescoes, palaces to explore, churches, and don’t forget all the deliciousness that is Italian food.
Right now at least a dozen hotels in Assisi are offering a very special and unusual promotion – free hotel rooms… to couples trying to conceive.
Out of all the countries in the EU, Italy has the lowest birth rate. In 2015, only eight babies were born for every 1,000 residents which makes the birth rate one of the lowest in the world.
The locals in Assisi put their heads together to figure out a way to help with the low birth rate and at the same time encourage tourism. The resulting project was dubbed The Fertility Room.
Some hotels are offering reimbursement to couples who get pregnant during their stay, and others are offering a return stay for free.
How to claim your free room?
After giving birth, you just have to show the baby’s birth certificate to show that they were indeed conceived nine months prior. Not a quick and easy hotel room for many, but some people might find it the perfect opportunity to enjoy a vacation (or two!) in Italy.
Here’s the verbiage from the (translated) website.
If you have the baby early or late you can provide documentation that you conceived around the time you were staying in Assisi, and the free hotel stay offer goes from now through March 31, 2017.
“Giving birth to a child is an act of deep love, which should be encouraged despite the multitude of difficulties in life,” is one of the slogans of the initiative.
The Fertility Room project is not without controversy, and some local officials have expressed disdain and distanced themselves from the initiative. The mayor has even reportedly snubbed the project, with the argument is that Assisi should be a place of cultural and historical focus for tourists and that the premise of The Fertility Room is inappropriate.
This is not the first time that Italy has tried to increase birthrate.
In September the country held “Fertility Day” which was meant to increase awareness, but instead seemed to spur more political debates about the lack of child care and stable jobs.
While I agree that the initiative isn’t conventional and it doesn’t suit everyone, I like the originality and creativeness that was involved in coming up with the idea. It would certainly make a fun story for the parents as well. Hopefully some people are able to take advantage of this, and that the town sees some new babies in 9 months time.
If you are a couple trying to conceive and a free hotel room sounds like a fun opportunity, go to the project’s website to learn more – http://www.fertilityroom.it/