Coronavirus: Venice postpones tourist tax amid Covid-19 pandemic

An entry fee of up to €10 was due to be introduced from 1 July 2020

Qin Xie
Wednesday 08 April 2020 14:29 BST
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Tourist attractions in Venice are now empty of visitors
Tourist attractions in Venice are now empty of visitors

Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro has announced that the city will be postponing its new tourist tax for a year amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Italian city is perpetually inundated with tourists, and has long battled overtourism, including by introducing a ban on cruise ships.

In a bid to cut down on the number of visitors and make the city “more liveable”, the mayor announced a new entry fee to the city last year.

It was due to come into force in May 2019, but it was later postponed to 1 July 2020. Now, with Italy suffering under the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entry fee has been postponed again, to 1 July 2021.

As part of the initiative, day visitors were expected to make a booking to visit the city and to pay a fee to gain entry.

The starting rate was €3 (£2.64) for a quiet day but goes up to €10 (£8.80) for the busiest days.

Overnight visitors are exempt as they pay a separate hotel tax.

But with Italy still on lockdown, and uncertainty over when it might end, Brugnaro has said it would be “ill-timed” to introduce the tax now as the city could risk economic disaster.

He told La Reppublica that tourism is currently at zero and “it will take at least a year to get back on track”.

Venice’s tourism industry has been heavily impacted by a number of events in the last year.

Right now, with coronavirus keeping tourists at home, the city is a “ghost town”.

At the end of last year, Venice suffered its second most severe flood on record.

Luca Zaia, governor of the Veneto region, described a scene of “apocalyptic devastation”.

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