Venice will charge day tourists an entrance fee next year on busy days 11:15 PM abroad. This will initially be a test that will start next year. Tourists pay 5 euros on some busy days and must book in advance to enter the historic city center.

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Tourists who want to spend a day in Venice during the busiest weekends will have to book their visit in advance from next year and pay 5 euros per person. The Venice City Council decided this today. The measure is intended to somewhat curb mass tourism. This is primarily a test.

The flow of tourists who visit the popular Italian destination every year has been causing nuisance in Venice for years. The city of 7.6 square kilometers received almost 13 million tourists in 2019 and there are fears that the numbers will exceed pre-corona figures in the coming years.

UNESCO said in early August that it was considering putting the city on the list of endangered world heritage. New construction projects, climate change but also mass tourism threaten the historic city center, the UN organization said.

A flood barrier costing billions has been built to combat the effects of climate change. Measures have already been taken against the flow of tourists. For example, no large cruise ships have been allowed to dock since 2021. So now comes a new step, which has been discussed for a few years: an entrance fee for day tourists.

‘Symbolic action’

Initially it was thought to be 10 euros per tourist. This has now been reduced to 5 euros and the levy only applies to visitors over 14 years old. The measure does not apply to tourists who stay overnight in the city. There are also exemptions for residents of the Veneto region, people who work or study in the city, relatives of Venice residents, high school students traveling and people participating in sports competitions.

This is a test for the time being. The tourist tax applies for 30 days spread over weekends and public holidays in the spring and summer of 2024. The exact days will be determined in the coming weeks. How the measure will be monitored and what sanctions will be imposed on tourists who do not pay the levy will soon be put “on a multilingual platform”, the municipality reports.

It is not clear whether the 5 euro levy will deter tourists from coming. Critics see it mainly as a symbolic action.

The municipal council emphasizes that the levy is indeed intended to combat peak traffic and is not intended as a cash cow. “The aim is to entice day trippers to choose quiet days,” says city councilor Simone Venturini. “We want to test the measure and improve it if necessary. We cannot spend another 40 years discussing what is the best thing to do.”

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