Venice will soon charge tourists €5 for every day they spend in the Italian city

Jan 10, 2022

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Venice is preparing to charge an entry fee to visit the Floating City in a sweeping crackdown on “hit-and-run tourism”, it has been announced.

The ancient canal city, authorities say, is not only sinking under rising sea levels but beneath the weight of day-tripping tourists.

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In order to limit the number the damage caused by tourism, visitors have been told they’ll have to buy a ticket for every day they spend there or be turned away at the city gates.

Tickets will cost €5 per person per day and must be booked online before you go.

“The aim is to discourage one-day tourism, hit-and-run tourism, arriving in one day and leaving in the same day, tiring and stressing the city, and encouraging slower tourism instead,” explained Simone Venturini, the city’s deputy mayor for tourism.

It is among a raft of measures officials have signed off in the hope of reducing the 100,000 people who stroll along the city’s winding waterways and storied squares every day.

The ticketing system will be backed by an extra 500 CCTV cameras installed to keep an eye on the flow of visitors, while police will harness individual mobile phone data to establish the identity of people in real-time.

Related: 8 mistakes most tourists make in Venice

“If I enter the data in the aggregated anonymous form, we can see exactly who these people are: 977 foreigners, 800 Italians, 135 residents, and 139 commuters,” revealed Maria Teresa Maniero, deputy commander at the Venice Police.

The fee, essentially a tourist tax and a way of limiting entry to the popular city, has been in the works since 2019, when TPG first wrote about it, but activating it has been delayed for various reasons, including the pandemic. While an actual launch date is yet to be announced it is expected to become an official requirement within weeks according to reports.

Tourism has become something of a double-edged sword for Venetians of late, where it both keeps livelihoods afloat while simultaneously smothering aspects of its centuries-old way of life.

The vast daily influx of tourists has driven up the cost of living to the point that many locals are being forced out of their hometowns to survive. Five years ago, Venice had 67,000 permanent residents. Today, there are only 50,000 left.

While overtourism had been held in check by the pandemic, it now threatens to reassert itself as travel restrictions across the world begin to loosen.

Before the pandemic, Venice was drawing as many as 80,000 tourists each day, approximately 25 million per year. The heavy congestion had gotten so bad, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee considered adding Venice to its list of endangered heritage sites. The decision was abandoned after Italy banned large cruise ships from entering Venice’s waters earlier this month.

Cruise ships have long been criticised by locals and environmentalists for contributing to overcrowding in Venice, as well as polluting its iconic canals.

“We cannot continue to have such huge numbers of tourists,” said mayor Luigi Brugnaro in September. “Venice is a small and very delicate city. The number of visitors must be compatible with Venice’s size. If there is no room, you won’t be able to come in.”

Featured image by Halil Sarikaya/EyeEm for Getty Images

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