Want a free trip to Italy? Just have a baby
HOTELS in the Italian city of Assisi are doing their bit to boost the country’s flagging birth rate by offering a free holiday to couples who conceive there. Ten hotels are offering refunds or a free future stay to guests who fall pregnant under the Fertility Room campaign. Guests will simply have to produce a birth certificate to prove the baby was born around nine months after their stay in the medieval city.
“Giving birth to a child is an act of deep love, which should be encouraged despite the multitude of difficulties in life,” organisers said as the campaign launched over the weekend.
Local tourism councillor Eugenio Guarducci, the man behind the initiative, said the aim was to encourage travel to the Umbrian town in central Italy – the birthplace of Saint Francis – and help reverse Italy’s low fertility rate.
If a flight to Italy isn’t an option for you, however, there’s always Myanmar’s own Thar Taw Ya Pagoda in Mandalay – otherwise known as “the baby-making pagoda”.
Couples have been visiting the site for 30 years, participating in a special ritual that helps would-be parents conceive their first child. In an interview with The Myanmar Times earlier this year, chair of the board of trustees U Chit Htay said people come from as far away as France.
Italy has the lowest birthrate in the European Union and one of the lowest in the world, with only eight babies born for every 1000 residents in 2015, according to EU figures released in July.
If the hotel deal doesn’t work, tourism consellors can always send wannabe parents to Mandalay: It might be just the treatment they need.
Pope Francis recently visited Assisi for an interreligious prayer service, but the town is now looking for less chaste guests to boost the population.