Launch of the incentive “FRI-Tur” (“Fondo rotativo imprese turistiche”) for tourism enterprises, the facilitation measure promoted under the PNRR by the Ministry of Tourism and managed by Invitalia with the participation of ABI and CDP 2 February 2023 – Posted in: News

By lawyers Mr. Augusto Vacca and Mrs. Silvia Sulli

The Ministry of Tourism, in a notice published on 4 August 2022, had laid down the first application instructions for one of the most interesting implementation measures of the PNRR dedicated to the tourism sector, called the ‘Fondo Rotativo Imprese (FRI) per il sostegno alle imprese e gli investimenti di sviluppo’, provided for in Art. 3 of Decree-Law No. 152 of 6 November 2021, converted, with amendments, by Law No. 233 of 29 December 2021 (here is our previous news).

This notice had defined, inter alia, the beneficiaries of the measure, the eligible interventions and expenses, and the incentives that could be granted, but it had postponed the detailed regulation of the deadlines and modalities for submitting incentive applications to a subsequent notice.

Also in order to implement this facilitating measure, the Ministry of Tourism had entered into a special agreement with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the Italian Banking Association, published on 31.8.2022, aimed at identifying unified rules for the concession of subsidised loans under the Fondo Rotativo Imprese, complementary bank loans, and related guarantees.

Finally, on 28 January 2023, the Ministry of Tourism issued the last long-awaited notice, renaming the measure ‘FRI-Tur’ and establishing that applications for admission to the benefit may be submitted by interested parties from 12 p.m. on 1 March 2023 until 12 p.m. on 31 March 2023.

Starting on 30 January 2023, on the other hand, it is possible to view and download from the website of Invitalia, to which the Ministry of Tourism has entrusted the operational management of the measure, the documentation required to submit an application.

The notice of 28.1.2023 reiterated how the FRI-Tur incentive aims to improve hospitality services and upgrade accommodation facilities, with a view to digitalisation and environmental sustainability through the following two forms of incentive, which can be combined:

  • a direct contribution to expenses that may be granted on the basis of the eligible amounts, taking into account the maximum percentages based on the size of the business and the location of the investment up to a maximum of 35% of the expenses, in compliance with the percentages determined in Article 7, paragraph 2 of the Decree adopted by the Minister of Tourism in agreement with the Minister of Economy and Finance on 28 December 2021;
  • a subsidised loan granted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti at an annual nominal rate of 0.5%, with a duration of between 4 and 15 years, including a pre-amortisation period of a maximum of 3 years, starting from the date the loan agreement is signed. The subsidised loan must necessarily be combined with a bank loan at market rate of the same amount and duration, provided by a lending bank that adheres to the convention of 29 August 2022 signed by the Ministry of Tourism, the Italian Banking Association and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

To give an idea of the importance of the measure for the tourism sector, it should be noted that the budget is EUR 780 million, plus a further EUR 600 million in bank loans that are expected to be mobilised for this measure by the financing banks that are parties to the convention.

According to the Ministry’s intentions, 50 % of the resources will be earmarked for energy requalification measures, and 40 % of the resources allocated for the direct contribution to expenditure will be allocated to companies based in one of the regions of southern Italy: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Apulia, Sardinia and Sicily.

The recent notice specifies that the relief in question cannot be combined with the other incentives provided by Articles 1, 2 and 8, paragraph 6, of Decree-Law No. 152 of 6 November 2021, under the terms set forth in the same Decree-Law and, in any case, cannot be combined with other public contributions, subsidies and facilities granted for the same interventions and are recognised in compliance with the applicable State aid regulations and the exemptions provided for the COVID-19 emergency by the European Commission.

In any case, the sum of the subsidised loan, the bank loan and the direct contribution to expenditure may not exceed 100% of the eligible programme. The applicant company must therefore ensure full coverage of the investment programme, including necessary but ineligible costs and the total VAT, by providing additional non-concessional financial resources.

Incentives may be requested for energy requalification, earthquake-proof upgrading, elimination of architectural barriers, extraordinary maintenance, restoration and conservative renovation, building renovation, installation of lightweight structures, construction of thermal swimming pools (only for thermal establishments), digitalisation, purchase or renovation of furniture.

The investment planned by those interested in the measure, on the other hand, must refer to one or more units of the applicant company located in the national territory and must provide for eligible expenses, net of VAT, between EUR 500,000 and EUR 10 million, and the resulting projects must be realised by 31 December 2025 and comply with national and European environmental regulations.