Amanda Malamut
November 19, 2016 11:53 am
Education Images/Getty Images

Sometimes it’s hard to see the upside of being pregnant. Swollen feet, the mood swings, the weird people trying to touch your belly. Besides getting a seat on the bus, and having an adorable child (of course), there aren’t many perks that come in those nine months. But now, this Italian town offering free vacations for pregnant women is upping the game. Yes, in Assisi, hotels are offering free rooms to combat Italy’s falling birthrate to couples who conceive under the Fertility Room campaign.

Ten hotels are offering free stays or refunds or free future stays to couples that can prove that their child was conceived during their stay. Um, that’s kind of a sweet deal.

All parents have to do is produce a birth certificate showing that the baby was born 9 months after your stay there. “Giving birth to a child is an act of deep love, which should be encouraged despite the multitude of difficulties in life,” the organizers said in a statement. It makes sense that the Italian tourism initiative is focusing on Italy’s birthrate. Italy has one of the lowest birthrate in the European Union and in the entire world, with only eight births per 1,000 residents.

Earlier iterations of this campaign were met with some backlash though, as women found the advertisements both sexist and racist. According to The Guardian,  one ad featured a woman holding an hourglass and touching her belly. “Beauty doesn’t have an age. Fertility does,” read the caption. It was not welcomed by young Italian women starting their careers. The fact that Italy’s economy is suffering and many can’t afford to have families seemed to escape the government’s attempt to boost the birthrate.

So, yes, maybe Italians should be concerned about the birth rate, but they shouldn’t pressure women into doing something they might not be ready for (or even want). But an incentive like a free, romantic vacation in a small Italian town? That’s something women can work with.

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