Venice to charge admission fee to all tourists

Move will ‘allow us to manage the city better and to keep it clean’, says mayor

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 31 December 2018 16:40
Comments
Barriers installed in Venice, Italy ahead of day of segregation of tourists and residents

Day-trippers to Venice will be forced to pay what amounts to an admission fee, according to the city’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro.

At present anyone who stays overnight in Venice pays between €1 (90p) and €5 per person for the city’s hotel tax.

Day visitors currently avoid any charge, and can access the city via the Ponte della Libertà (“Liberty Bridge”) for as little as €1.50 by bus.

But the mayor announced on Twitter that he will take advantage of Italy’s liberalised budget laws to introduce what is called a contributo di sbarco – literally a disembarkation contribution – for visitors.

The aim, said Mr Brugnaro, is to “protect those who live, study and work in our territory”.

He said: “It will help us to better manage the city, to keep it clean, to offer innovative services to guests and to make the Venetians live more decorously.”

Activists in Venice have expressed concern about “overtourism”. In the spring of 2018, the mayor announced special measures “to guarantee public safety, security and livability” – and installed crowd control barriers at key locations in the historic city to regulate the flow of visitors.

Around 25 million tourists visit Venice each year, which works out at one coachload of 48 people every minute.

But it is estimated that only one visitor in five stays overnight.

For travellers living in northwest Slovenia, southeast Austria and even Bavaria in southern Germany, Venice can be accessed as a day trip from home.

The key questions about the new levy are: how much will it cost to visit Venice, and how will it be collected?

The city council is set to decide both issues.

If day-trippers are taxed a token €1 (the same as a stay in a one-star hotel) and non-staying visitor numbers remain the same, the city will benefit to the tune of €20m annually – plenty with which to enhance the city’s appearance. But some locals believe that taxation should be used to dampen demand to visit the city.

A charge of €5 would act as a deterrent for travellers on a lower budget, and might turn attention to other beautiful and historic cities nearby, including Vicenza and Padua.

It is believed that if the plan reaches fruition, Venice will be the first city in the world with an admission fee for day visitors. But its unique geography, comprising an archipelago accessible only by bridge or water, makes it also one of the few cities where levying a charge is feasible.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

A toll could be levied on cars and coaches travelling over the Ponte della Libertà, with the charge included in train tickets across the parallel railway from Mestre on the mainland to Santa Lucia station in Venice.

The only other access is by water from the Lido – again, the visitor charge could be added to fares.

Already, visitors to Venice pay five times as much as local people for vaporetti – the boats which act as local buses.

Other cities with concerns about overtourism, including Barcelona and Dubrovnik, will be watching developments closely.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in