Venice to charge day-trippers up to €10 to enter city
Mayor says tax will improve monitoring of tourist arrivals and fund clean-up of litter
Venice attracts up to 30 million visitors a year. Photograph: Getty Images
Day-trippers to Venice will be charged up to €10 to enter the famous lagoon city as authorities continue to grapple with the tens of millions of tourists who visit every year.
The Italian parliament approved the entry tax, which will range from €2.50 to €10 depending on the time of year, in its budget for 2019, paving the way for it to be implemented by local authorities.
A similar system has been applied for Elba island, part of the Tuscan archipelago, and the Aeolian Islands off Sicily.
Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, said the money collected would help fund the cleaning up of rubbish that day-trippers leave behind.
“The arrival tax is now law,” he said. “We will establish a balanced and shared regulation that protects those who live, study and work in the territory.”
It is unclear when the tax will be introduced or how it will be applied. Reports in the Italian press suggest it could be added to the cost of arriving in the city either by train, bus or cruise ship, with the respective transport companies passing the proceeds on to Venice authorities.
Each visitor will be charged a minimum fee of€2.50 throughout the year, rising to between €5 and €10 during peak periods. It will not affect those who have booked hotel rooms. Venice visitors already pay a tourist tax if they spend at least one night in the city.
Mr Brugnaro said the entrance charge would allow authorities to better monitor tourist arrivals.
Venice has long struggled to manage a tourism industry that brings in about 30 million visitors a year, many arriving by cruise ship. Leaders are also under pressure to better manage the situation ahead of a decision by Unesco, expected in July 2019, over whether to put Venice on its list of endangered heritage sites.
Gates were installed at the two entry points to the lagoon during peak periods this year in an attempt to ease the throng heading towards St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge.
If numbers get too high, the gates are closed and access is allowed only to those with hotel bookings or holding a Venezia Unica pass, a card that is mainly used by residents but can be bought for €40 by anyone who uses a water bus.
Authorities are also trying to encourage people to visit other, lesser-known areas of the Venetian lagoon or one of its other islands, such as Murano and Burano.
Those who live in Venice have organised several protests in recent years against a tourism industry which they argue has eroded their quality of life, has damaged the environment and is driving residents away: Venice’s population has fallen from about 175,000 in the post-second world war years to about 55,000 today. - Guardian