The move is aimed at keeping track of visitor numbers, managing the flow of tourists and making the city “more liveable”, according to Mayor Luigi Brugnaro.
“We are not here to make money,” he said at a council meeting on 4 February, reports Venezia Today.
The charge will be launched on 1 May 2019 and will initially be a flat rate of €3 until the end of the year.
Rates will go up in 2020, with a standard fee of €6, increasing to €8 in peak season and €10 on the busiest days of the year. It will fall to €3 on the quietest days.
The plan is to encourage all tourists to book entry and pay in advance, so that by 2022 the city has a good idea of visitor numbers and can forecast when the busiest times will be.
“Only then will we be able to count the number of people attending Venice,” said Brugnaro. “Access will not be prevented, but it will be more complicated for those who do not book.
“We intend to guarantee a better livability for citizens, and above all, for the residents.”
He added: “The money we will make will be used, transparently, in three directions: to reduce the costs that today weigh on businesses and citizens; to carry out maintenance works; and to ensure security and surveillance, including through the recruitment of police officers.”
It is not known how much money the move will raise, but the Mayor emphasised the introduction of an entry fee was about preserving Venice.
There will be non-invasive checks to ensure people that should have paid have done so. “We are not going to militarise the city,” said Brugnaro.
Residents of Venice and the Veneto region, local workers, students and family members of locals will be exempt from the entry fee, as will tourists who stay overnight in the city and already pay a nightly tax at their hotel: the new fee is aimed squarely at day trippers.
Children under six, disabled people and carers, patients in healthcare facilities, those participating in sporting competitions, law enforcement, firefighters and volunteers won’t be subject to the charge. There are future plans to exclude anyone born in Venice from paying, too.
The decision comes after a raft of local initiatives to try to cull the worst tourist behaviour.
Venice’s #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign, which launched in the summer of 2017, dictates that tourists are welcome – but only if they play by the rules.
Visitors are instructed not to swim in canals, make picnic stops out of public areas, pause too long on bridges, drop litter, ride or wheel bikes, stand or lie on benches, busk or make art without a permit, attach “love locks” to monuments and bridges, climb on trees, buildings and monuments, get changed in public, feed birds or sightsee topless or in swimwear. Making too much noise, whether at night or during siesta time (1-3pm), is also forbidden.
The consequence of flouting the rules is a hefty fine of up to €450.
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