Hotels in the town of Assisi in the central Italian region of Umbria are offering free accommodation to visitors with one very specific catch: you must conceive a baby during your stay.
As part of a campaign to raise awareness of Italy’s low birth rate, hotels will offer a refund or an extra night free of charge to couples who show a birth certificate proving the baby was born nine months after their stay, give or take 10 days.
“The low birth rate in our country is one of the most significant problems that social policies will have to tackle in the coming years,” the campaign website reads.
“Giving birth to a child is a profound gesture of love, which should be encouraged despite the multitude of difficulties in life.”
The campaign called Fertility Room, started by local Coun. Eugenio Guarducci is also an attempt to boost local tourism and to get people talking about fertility.
According to Eurostat, eight babies were born in Italy for every 1,000 residents in 2015. The country’s rate has dropped to its lowest level in more than 150 years amid a sluggish economy.
Italy’s demographics have been described by health officials as an “apocalypse.”
But not everyone is happy with the initiative. Umbria regional councillor Claudio Ricci said in a statement he would look into whether it was “appropriate for the public image of Assisi” to continue with the campaign.
He said the campaign seems more suitable for Paris or the Italian seaside town of Rimini but not Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, namesake of the current pope.
Nonetheless, 10 hotels signed up to be a part of the initiative that runs until March 2017.