Following the launch of OTELLO in 2015 – the Italian digital validation and refund process – the Italian Customs this year introduced the updated, fully digital end-to-end system, OTELLO 2.0.

In addition to the digital validation and refunds offered by its predecessor, OTELLO 2.0 requires a pre-issuing step directly in-store, where transaction information such as traveller information is sent in real-time to Customs for data quality checks before issuing.

Leading the transition to digital

Global Blue Italy’s instore solutions help shop staff to ensure high levels of data quality during the pre-registration step; if a Tax Free ShoppingA number of countries offer VAT/GST refunds to international... More transaction is initially declined by Customs, the solution will provide real time feedback indicating what needs to be corrected for the transaction to be issued to the traveller.

In parallel, Global Blue has fully supported, with dedicated staff, the digital validation process of major Italian airports such as Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino and more recently Florence and Venice airports. The implementation of this system will enhance the quality of Tax Free ShoppingA number of countries offer VAT/GST refunds to international... More transactions and the experience of merchants and travellers in the country, as well as improving the number of completed transactions.

Global Blue has worked closely with Italian Authorities, merchants and partners to complete the required steps for a smooth transition, which took place 1 September 2018, when OTELLO 2.0 became 100% legally mandatory in Italy.

We have worked closely with Italian Customs and our combined efforts will serve to improve travellers’ Tax Free ShoppingA number of countries offer VAT/GST refunds to international... More experience in Italy, ensuring it is safer, simpler and more efficient through digitisation. We would like to thank the Italian Customs for this collaboration and support.

Stefano Rizzi, Managing Director Global Blue Italy

The digital revolution gains momentum across Europe

Initiated in France in 2007 with Pablo, Italy follows closely in the footsteps of Portugal, which introduced its mandatory eTFS scheme earlier this year. These significant steps forward occur in a context of existing or planned digitisation of the Tax Free ShoppingA number of countries offer VAT/GST refunds to international... More flow in other European countries.

From January 2019, 100% of online registration and digital validation of Tax Free ShoppingA number of countries offer VAT/GST refunds to international... More transactions will become mandatory in Spain, while Global Blue continues to work with French Authorities to implement a series of enhancements to the PABLO system. Like Italy and Portugal, digital self-validation kiosks are also provided in Spain, France, Cyprus, Estonia and Finland, improving the traveller experience.

Meanwhile, Global Blue continues to work with multiple authorities throughout Europe on plans to migrate to digital TFS, including the UK Government whose 2016 announcement to proceed with a digital TFS flow will help increase competitivity in the wake of the Brexit vote.