Travel

Italian tourism boss suggests stopping watch theft with cheap alternative

(CNN) — A tourism chief in Naples has come up with a unique solution for any visitors worried about theft in the southern Italian city, after reports the French actor Daniel Auteuil recently had his luxury watch stolen in the area.

Cesare Foa, the president of the tour operators’ association Aidit, says hotels could provide guests who wear expensive watches with cheap plastic alternatives to ensure that their actual timepieces can stay safe while they head out and explore the city.

Italian news agency ANSA reported last week that Auteuil had a 39,000-euro ($41,250) Patek Philippe watch stolen from his wrist by two people riding scooters while he was traveling in a taxi with the window open.
French actor Daniel Auteuil, pictured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, reportedly had his luxury watch stolen in Naples.

French actor Daniel Auteuil, pictured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, reportedly had his luxury watch stolen in Naples.

Alberto PizzoliAFP/Getty Images

Foa told CNN Monday: “It’s important that tourists in Naples can enjoy tranquility and peace in the city, so hotels and the council could help to ensure that these guests feel safe and relaxed by giving them a plastic watch.”

Foa went on to say that the suggested watches would not only be effective in preventing theft but could also double as unique souvenirs for tourists.

“The watches could be decorated, they could carry a symbol of Campania (the region in Italy of which Naples is the capital) on them and could be given as a gift to family members and friends,” he said.

An aerial shot of Naples during sunrise.

An aerial shot of Naples during sunrise.

rudi1976/Adobe Stock

He added that there was “no theft problem” in Naples and said that it is no different to any other city in Italy, such as Milan or Rome or, indeed, any other major city in the world — where visitors and holidaymakers are often likely to be targeted by pickpockets.

Foa said that his suggestion for a solution would be a cost-effective one, too, as the plastic watches could cost as little as 10 euros ($10.58), he said.

Whether or not the idea will take off isn’t yet clear — but wealthy tourists may find it easier to part with a $10.58 watch than a $41,000 one.


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