To alleviate the island’s overcrowding, lawmakers in Venice have adopted new measures to see the city levying a fee on visitors this summer.
Electronic turnstiles and pre-booked visits will be for day visitors to the Italian city. Fees will range from $3 to $10, and visitors will need to pay in advance. Guests who have booked overnight stays, residents and their immediate families, as well as children under the age of six, will be exempt from the tax.
The talks on access fees were first announced in 2018 and were supposed to go into effect in May of that year, but they were postponed and put on hold last year due to the pandemic.
As the world’s first major city to put in place such safeguards, Venice’s planned adoption will assist preserve this UNESCO World Heritage City with fees collected.
Instead of fostering speedy, one-day tourism that drains the city’s resources, the goal is to promote leisurely, multi-day travel.
To reduce the 100,000 people who walk the city’s winding canals and legendary squares every day, officials have approved a slew of measures.
Additional 500 CCTV cameras will be added to monitor the flow of visitors, and police will use mobile phone data to establish people’s identities in real-time.
It is a double-edged sword for Venetians, who are relying on tourism to keep their businesses viable, but at the same time, it is killing off some of the city’s traditions.
Many local Venetians have been forced to move out of their houses because of the constant influx of tourists, which has pushed up the cost of living. About 67,000 people lived in Venice five years ago. Only 50,000 people remain.
While the pandemic had kept overcrowding in check, travel restrictions worldwide are gradually loosening, allowing it to re-establish itself.
Venice citizens and environmentalists have long decried overcrowding and pollution from cruise ships.
In September, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro declared, “We can’t keep having such big numbers of tourists. As a small city, Venice is quite fragile.” Visitor numbers must be commensurate with the city’s size. The entrance will be closed if there is no room for you.