Popular Italian tourist destination Venice is set to become the first city in the world to charge most of its visitors an entry fee in order to keep the UNESCO World Heritage Site free from overcrowding.
Starting 16 January 2023, some visitors will have to shell out a minimum of EUR 3 to a maximum of EUR 10 (USD 3.1 to USD 10.4) for a ticket to enter Venice. Ticket prices will depend on tourist inflow and the highest range will be in effect if demand for entry is high.
Venice and its world famous lagoon are situated in the Veneto Region of northeastern Italy in the Adriatic Sea.
According to reports, the principal target of the scheme are the day-trippers numbering in thousands who come to the iconic city of canals on boats from resorts along the Adriatic coast.
More about Venice charging tourists
Reducing the burden of overtourism
Venice’s councillor for tourism, Simone Venturini, announced the new measure at a press conference on 1 July 2022.
“We are pioneers, the first city in the world to apply a measure that could be revolutionary,” Venturini said.
Italy dropped all COVID-19 restrictions at the start of June and travellers from around the world are thronging the country ahead of the year’s summer season.
According to Venturini, the entry fee plan, which has been approved by the city council will help solve Venice’s notorious overcrowding problem by making tourists mark their presence and avoid “tourist peaks.”
“Venice is a living city and it has to stay that way,” he said.
Venice’s finance chief, Michele Zuin, said that the city will not be closed even if the visitor numbers are too high.
“We are thinking of a visitor limit beyond which you pay more but the city will never close,” he was quoted as saying by The Times. “Venice is open — we just want a disincentive to tourism.”
A fine for those who don’t pay
The ticket booking system and its online platform will be launched later in 2022.
According to The Times, tourists who book their entry have to present a QR code at the turnstiles at the railway station to enter the city.
Spot checks will also be carried out by 15 controllers and fines ranging from EUR 50 to EUR 300 (USD 52 to USD 312) will be imposed on tourists without a valid entry pass.
CNN reports that the entrance fee will apply to the Venice historic centre and the islands of Lido di Venezia, Pellestrina, Murano, Burano, Torcello, Sant’Erasmo, Mazzorbo, Mazzorbetto, Vignole, Sant’Andrea, La Certosa, San Servolo, San Clemente and Poveglia.
Who is excluded?
Not everyone entering Venice has to pay. Among those excluded are tourists who pay tourist tax on hotel bills and are booked to stay overnight in the city.
Students, workers, property owners, disabled people, attendees of cultural or sporting events, those visiting relatives, people coming for health reasons, children under the age of six and the residents of Venice and the surrounding region will be exempted from the new rule.
According to Venturini and Zuin, the funds raised from the fees will initially help cover the costs of the scheme before funding the city’s maintenance. It will also help in lowering the taxes imposed on residents of Venice.
“It is not a system to make cash but to manage tourist flows,” Zuin said, according to CNN.
(Main and Featured image credit: Henrique Ferreira/@rickpsd/Unsplash)