Many travelers are accustomed to nightly tourist taxes added to their hotel bills.
But daytime taxes are a new demand.
Venice’s city council on Tuesday approved a long-awaited regulation to tax same-day visitors 5 euros ($5.38) to tour the city.
The new tax will be applied over 30 non-consecutive days in 2024, falling on spring long weekends and regular summer weekends, according to an announcement posted Tuesday on the city’s website.
The exact dates will be announced in the coming weeks, it is specified.
Who should pay the fees
In general, fees will apply to day tourists over the age of 14.
Overnight travelers are exempt, although they are subject to a separate tourist tax implemented in 2011. This tax varies depending on travel season, type of accommodation and location, according to the tax’s website. city – and is generally between 1 and 5 euros per person per night. for the first five nights of a stay.
Why does Venice tax day visitors?
The new tax is an attempt to “protect the city from mass tourism,” Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“We will conduct an experiment with great humility and try not to harm anyone,” he said, according to a translation of the message.
Venice has been mulling for years the idea of taxing day visitors, among several measures aimed at curbing overtourism in the city – which residents have long accused of driving up prices and turning the city into a kind of theme park full of memories.
Locals, particularly the roughly 50,000 people living in the city’s historic district, far outnumber the roughly 5.5 million who visited the city in 2019 — many of whom disembark from cruise ships in their thousands to catch photos of the famous canals and squares of Venice.
So-called “hit and run” tourists account for nearly three out of four visitors to Venice, yet they contribute less than 20% to its tourism economy, according to Belgian news network Euronews.
Will it work?
According to research, taxes and fines alone are not enough to combat overtourism, said Tatyana Tsukanova, an associate researcher at EHL Hospitality Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The city of Venice currently fines visitors who eat or drink on the ground, sit on monuments and bridges, or swim in its canals, according to the city’s website.
Tsukanova cited Bhutan, which reopened in 2022 with a $200 daily tourist tax imposed to attract “high-value, low-volume” tourists. Earlier this summer, the country cut fees in half to entice more travelers to visit.
Crowd near the Grand Canal during the Venice Carnival, February 11, 2023.
Miguel Medina | Afp | Getty Images
While Bhutan’s tax may have worked a little too well, Venice’s may not be enough to deter travelers from far and wide to visit the ancient city.
Kumar Vinnakota, a lawyer in Dallas, Texas, said he would not hesitate to pay 5 euros to visit Venice.
“Most cities around the world have tourist taxes or hotel taxes paid by tourists anyway,” he said.
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