Michele Zuin, the city councillor for budget issues, said in a statement: "In light of the current situation, linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to make a big gesture to help encourage the return of tourists."
The original proposal was to levy a tax on day visitors to the city, with rates starting from €3 (£2.64) for a quiet day and going up to €10 (£8.80) for the busiest days. It would apply to those coming from elsewhere in Italy on day trips, as well as those arriving by cruise ship.
The city already charges overnight visitors a variable tourist tax, which is paid directly to the hotel they’re staying in.
The tax on day visitors was a way to ease the city’s burden from overtourism, and the money would have been used to improve public facilities in Venice.
When it was originally announced in 2018, the city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, said that the tax would “protect those who live, study and work in our territory”.
But with the coronavirus pandemic decimating tourism around the world, Venice too has seen a dramatic drop in the number of visitors, prompting the city to postpone introducing the tax yet again – the third time it’s done so.
The levy was originally due to come into force in May 2019, but it was postponed to 1 July 2020 after a delay in the implementation.
Earlier this year, while suffering under the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, the city announced that the tax would be pushed back to 1 July 2021; now it has been even further delayed.
Before the pandemic, overtourism had become a huge problem for Venice and many locals have been trying to get large cruise ships banned from docking at the Unesco World Heritage Site for years.
Earlier this year, when two cruise ships announced that they would not be returning to Venice in 2020, locals are said to have planned a party to celebrate.
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