Venice Day-trippers Will Face Steep Fines If They Dont Pay Fee Designed To Combat Overtourism

From the end of April 2024, visitors must pay an entry fee.

ADVERTISEMENT

Day-trippers to Venice who fail to pay the €5 to enter the lagoon city’s historic centre will face fines starting at 10 times the entrance fee, officials said on Thursday.

The payment system is being launched later this month for a time-limited pilot program.

Venice announced last year it would introduce the long-discussed day-tripper fee after the city narrowly escaped being placed on the UN’s list of endangered heritage sites, due largely to the impact of overtourism.

Visitors staying overnight in the historic centre are exempt from the charge as they already pay a tourist tax.

How will Venice’s new entry fee work?

Officials have avoided calling the new charge a tax, opting for softer words like contribution.

They have also downplayed the possibility of waits to enter the city, emphasising there will be no turnstiles or physical barriers.

But during a press briefing, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro suggested lines could form at the official entry points, and used the word tax to describe the fee.

Brugnaro said personnel have been trained to verify that tourists who are not staying in Venice have either a QR code confirming payment of the fee or an exemption voucher.

Visitors arriving at the main train and bus stations will first be met by stewards who will remind tourists of the new requirement and help anyone who hasn’t yet downloaded the QR code.

Payment points will be set up for anyone without a smartphone.

Brugnaro said that anyone found beyond designated control points without the required documentation will be subject to fines.

These will range from €50 to €300, plus the maximum entrance fee allowed by law, set at €10.

“There is no tax without controls,’’ Brugnaro told foreign reporters in Rome. Visitors will be subject to random, not systematic, checks, he said.

“If someone turns himself into Batman and tries to enter, and enters all the same, he will not win a medal from me, but we will simply thank him for his rudeness,’’ the mayor said.

Officials have emphasised that the programme aims to reduce crowds on peak days, encourage longer visits and improve the quality of life for residents.

The fee is not required for anyone staying in Venice, including the mainland districts of Marghera and Mestre. Venice’s islands, including glass-making Murano, are also outside the pilot program.

The fee is being tested on 29 days, starting with an Italian national holiday on 25 April. It will be in place through to mid-July, including most weekends, from 8:30 am to 4 pm.

No maximum number of visitors has been set in this phase.

ADVERTISEMENT

Venice is launching an advertising campaign to inform visitors of the new obligation, featuring Brugnaro speaking a variety of languages aided by artificial intelligence. Visitors can register at the website, www.cda.ve.it, which is operating in five languages.

Exemptions will be issued for a variety of reasons, including to access the city for work, school or medical care, as well as to people born in Venice, and residents of the Veneto region.

Why has Venice introduced a new entry fee?

Venice has long suffered under the pressure of overtourism, but officials say pre-pandemic estimates ranging from 25 to 30 million visitors a year - including day-trippers - are not reliable and that the pilot project also aims to come up with more exact figures to help better manage the phenomenon.

By contrast, registered visitors spending the night last year numbered 4.6 million, according to city figures, down 16 per cent from pre-pandemic highs.

The pandemic delayed Venice’s plans to launch the day-tripper tax, which has become a keystone of the city’s attempts to deal with overtourism.

ADVERTISEMENT

UNESCO cited the plan when it decided not to include the city on the list of endangered world heritage sites last September, a tarnish that it similarly avoided two years earlier with the cruise ship ban through St. Mark's Basin and the Giudecca Canal.

Cruise ships brought 1.6 million people to Venice in 2019.

Activists sounded a warning last summer when the number of tourist beds officially overtook the number of residents, which has dwindled to under 50,000 in a trend dating back decades.

They said the imbalance drains the city of services, clogging its tight alleyways and water buses with suitcase-toting tourists and pushing residents to the mainland with its conveniences.

RECENT NEWS

Donald Trump's Attempted Assassination: EU And World Leaders React

Reactions have been coming in from European leaders, with many deploring the attack and saying violence has no place in ... Read more

Trump Shooting: 20 Year Old Suspect Named - LIVE UPDATES

Former US president Donald Trump shot in a failed assassination attempt at Pennsylvania rally. Read more

Here's How Europe's Indigenous Peoples Are Using Food Diplomacy To Save The Arctic

The Sámi community want to protect their long-earned gastronomic traditions across the continent. Read more

Most People In Barcelona Wont Miss Tourist Rentals: Why Locals Support Airbnb Crackdown

Spain is finding innovative ways to cut down on tourist apartments, even banning them completely in some places. Read more

Zelenskyy Takes His Case For Continued Military Support To US Governors

NATO members this week agreed to a new programme to provide reliable military aid to Ukraine and prepare for its eventua... Read more

Anant Ambani, Son Of Asia's Richest Man, Gets Married In Lavish Wedding In Mumbai

The four-day wedding celebrations began on Friday with the traditional Hindu wedding ceremony and will be followed by a ... Read more