Venice to Trial €5 Daily Fee for Tourists Amid Overcrowding Concerns


Venice, the exquisite Italian city known for its interconnected canals and rich history, is preparing to implement a trial of a €5 fee for daily visitors. This proposed measure aims to moderate the overwhelming levels of tourism that the city grapples with continually.

Visitors 14 years of age and older will be required to pay this charge, and they must arrange their entry to the city ahead of their visit. The trial is slated to occur during next year’s peak tourism period.

Simone Venturini, the city council member for tourism, explains that Venice is among Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, and as such, suffers significantly from over-tourism. He believes the intended strategy will encourage daily tourists to consider visiting during off-peak times. This measure, however, will not apply to tourists intending to stay overnight in Venice.

In 2019, Venice, which occupies a mere 7.6 square kilometres, hosted close to 13 million tourists. With tourism predicted to surpass pre-pandemic levels in future, a solution to manage the influx of visitors has become a necessity. Venturini contends the objective is to trial the fee, improve it if required, and not to be engaged in endless discussions over the best approach.

Meanwhile, the city has been proposed as an addition to the list of world heritage sites currently endangered, as per UNESCO. This follows the city’s struggle with climate change and mass tourism, both of which have left a lasting impact.

Earlier in 2021, monumental cruise ships were prohibited from entering the city’s historic centre through the Giudecca Canal – a response to the substantial pollution they were contributing towards, and the erosion of Venice’s foundations, not to mention the flooding issues that regularly plague the city.

Whether or not the proposed daily fee will dissuade tourists, though, remains uncertain. Visitors have expressed mixed feelings about the measure. While some, like Karina from Germany, have no issues paying the nominal fee, others such as Cal, a student from Ireland, find it excessive.

Venice’s resident population has also been affected, with many opting to relocate as the surge of tourists threatens to swallow up the historic city. Some local inhabitants, like Valentini Rizzi, a PhD student, face the challenge where landlords prefer short-term lets to tourists over long-term contracts to residents.

In a recent study by citizen groups Ocio and Venissa, there is an almost equal distribution of beds for tourists and residents in the city, pointing to the tourist influx’s severity. Maria Fiano, who runs Ocio, revealed that in just five months, there has been an increase of 1000 units in overnight accommodation available to tourists.

According to Fiano, numerous historical governmental buildings have been transformed into tourist accommodations – a transformation she describes as marking Venice’s shift from being a city to a ‘non-city,’ inhabited more by temporary visitors than residents.

Not everyone is convinced with the city’s steps to curb over-tourism. Fiano, among others, contends that the daily fee appears more like a spectacle. In her opinion, the issue could be considerably mitigated by limiting the rental accommodations available to tourists.


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