Visitors to Venice have been warned to prepare for a daily rate to visit the floating city at peak times, which is expected to be introduced next year.
The move, which will charge day-trippers £4.35 (€5) on busy weekends, is part of a campaign to reduce crowds, encourage longer visits and improve the quality of life of Venetians themselves. same.
The launch of the tourism “contribution” program comes after Venice, a UNESCO world heritage site, narrowly escaped being placed on the UN agency’s danger list earlier this year due to of the threat that overtourism poses to its delicate ecosystem.
Member states cited the proposed new entry fee in deciding whether to remove Venice from the list.
Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro insisted the tax was not a new tourist tax or an attempt to generate additional revenue.
Instead, he said, it was a first-of-its-kind experiment to regulate tourist flows in one of the world’s most visited places by encouraging visitors to avoid periods of heavy traffic and coming on other days.
” He told reporters at a news conference in which he presented the plan.
He said: “Our aim is to make the city more livable.”
In total, 29 days from April to mid-July – including most weekends – will be subject to the tax between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., meaning visitors who come to Venice for dinner or a concert will not be not billed.
After COVID-19 lockdowns devastated Venice’s tourism industry, the city of narrow streets, canals and islands attempted to rethink its relationship with visitors in a more sustainable way while also seeking to incentivize its residents to stay put.
Venice was forced to act in response to the steady exodus of Venetians to the mainland and pressure from UNESCO and environmentalists, who also successfully lobbied for the government to ban large cruise ships from passing through St. Mark’s Square and via the Giudecca canal.
Venice sees long-term tourists as key to its survival, as they tend to spend more.
Mr Brugnaro said the new contribution to day-trippers was in no way discouraging tourism as a whole, but simply seeking to manage it better.
He acknowledged that the visitors program will likely have problems and need to be changed. But he said after years of study and discussion, it was time to roll it out.
Many exemptions apply, including for residents and visitors, students and workers of Venetian origin, as well as tourists who have booked hotels or other accommodation.
From January 16, a website, Contributo di Accesso, will go online where visitors can “book” their day in Venice.
Day-trippers will pay the fee and receive a QR code which will then be verified during spot checks at seven access points across the city, including the main train station.
Visitors who have booked a hotel enter their hotel information and also receive a QR code to display, without having to pay, since their hotel bill will already include Venice accommodation costs.