Venice officials have made announcements that will force day-trippers to the City of Canals to pay a fee. That fee will range from €3 to €10 (approx. $4 to $15 AUD) depending on how far in advance you’ve booked a tourism spot and whether it’s peak season or not (July to August).
Yeah, you read that right, you have to book a “tourism spot”. Basically, you have to tell Venice that you’re coming just for the day as they plan on limiting the amount of people visiting the city on any one day.
These fees and bookings do not apply if you book accommodation in Venice as the price for hotels and such already include a lodging tax.
Exemptions include children under six, those with disabilities, and those who are visiting their vacation properties (assuming proof of paid real estate taxes).
Those who don’t pay the fee risk a fine of up to €300 (~$454 AUD). Nothing too crazy but certainly less preferable than small fee.
These new rules will be in effect from 16th January 2023.
Why The New Fee?
“Overtourism” has been a big problem for Venice for quite some time now and this is the next step officials have taken in an attempt to mitigate it after the ban on cruise ships over 55,000 tonnes from docking in St Mark’s Basin in 2017 and the Giudecca Canal in 2021.
What is overtourism? Very simply it’s too many people visiting the same place at once. 20 million people visit Venice every year. On a busy day, 120,000 tourists visit Venice. That’s more than double the amount of the 55,000 permanent residents.
More people = more money? That’s good, right? While that is true, the huge amounts of people are damaging the fragile buildings and straining the city’s infrastructure. Not to mention that it’s negatively affecting the resident’s everyday lives – how would you feel if every time you wanted to go to the shops you had to go through a horde of tourists. On top of that, have you ever visited Venice? It’s a nightmare to navigate through all the tourists.
While 20 million people visit Venice a year, only half of them stay the night. A big reason for that is the cruise ships that stop by for the day. Some days as many as 44,000 cruise passengers stop in the city and all they do is buy a few souvenirs and move on. This brings little to no economic benefits to the city.
So while more people generally equals more money, that isn’t really the case in Venice. They need people to stay there and spend more time in the city to both get the most out of it. But even this has its problems.
Tourism is slowly killing Venice as a place to actually live. There’s poor employment (work is limited to tourism and not much else), a rising cost of living (thanks to people purchasing what would have been cheap housing for a holiday home), and a reduced quality of life. This is causing depopulation. 30 years ago, 120,000 people lived in Venice. There are just 55,000 today. Some demographers have even predicted that there will be no permanent residents by 2030.
While the new rules may be annoying for tourists, they will be welcomed by the populace of Venice who desperately want their city back.
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