Silvio's 'sensual' voice of approval

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The Independent Online

Silvio Berlusconi has come to the rescue of Italy's recession-struck tourist industry by lending his "sensual" voice to a promotional campaign. The Prime Minister revealed his plan to help turn the tide for ailing hotels and travel firms in the country during an address to the Assembly of Italian Hoteliers in Rome.

Mr Berlusconi agreed to appear in the video with tourism minister, Maria Vittoria Brambilla."But last night, after the minister and I screened the commercial, I told her to take out the image and use only my voice, which is unmistakable as well as quite sensual," he declared. The former cruise ship crooner then revealed the campaign's slogan: "Stay in Italy, get to know it better, spend your money in Italy."

It wasn't clear whether Mr Berlusconi had penned it himself.

He went on to urge Italians to help state coffers by choosing home destinations rather than foreign ones for this year's summer holidays.

However, Rome hoteliers are currently smarting over news of a likely €10 (£8.30) tax on the capital's hotel bills, which the government says is needed to fill in the gaping hole in the city's finances."The hotel tax will be imposed only as a last resort," he told the meeting, before explaining that it was the legacy of former centre-left administrations that had racked up "very huge debts".