Access fees to Venice: what you need to know before your day trip

After years of debate, Venice on Thursday began charging 5 euros to day-trippers visiting its vulnerable historic center during the busy season, becoming the world’s first to adopt such a measure to combat overtourism. It became a city.

Critics wonder if the nominal fee will deter people from visiting one of the world’s most coveted destinations. But officials hope this may cause some people to reconsider their plans and decide to visit during the week or during the off-season.

This could help reduce the impact on the beleaguered residents of the city of fewer than 50,000 people, which was flooded with an estimated 20 million visitors last year, it reported. Local government statistics. According to city officials, about half of the visitors were just visitors for the day. Fees are waived for hotel guests.

City officials say the spirit of the initiative is to make people aware of Venice’s uniqueness and vulnerability. Nicola Camatti, an economics professor and tourism expert at Venice’s Ca’ Foscari University, said overtourism was creating an economy based solely on tourism and risked destroying cities by displacing their dwindling population. .

The charges took effect on Thursday, a public holiday in Italy. In 2024, city officials have identified 29 peak days on which Venice day-trippers will have to pay a fee between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. This day lasts until mid-July and is held mainly on holidays and weekends.of Paid access website Provides a list of dates.

Almost everyone visiting the city must register to get a QR code, but not all visitors need to pay. Guests staying in registered accommodation such as hotels and Airbnbs will be exempt as they already pay the daily tourist tax, as will people studying or working in Venice or visiting relatives.We have others, too exemption In the same way.

Residents of Venice, people born in Venice, and minors under the age of 14 do not need to register. However, you will need a document to prove your identity.

Next year, there could be different fees on a sliding scale depending on how many people city officials expect to show up each day. City officials said the fees could reach 10 euros a day.

Before tourists come to Venice on peak days, Website Register and get your QR code.

Codes are scanned at points of entry for visitors, including train stations, city parking lots, airports, and the vast waterfront along the San Marco Basin where boats are moored. The access point will have lines for tourists and for residents who come to Venice for non-tourist purposes and what authorities call city users.

At least for now, people who haven’t pre-registered can do so at some hotspots or cellphones, officials said. An assistant will assist you.

Councilor Michele Zuin, who is in charge of the city’s budget, said the initial controls will be “very soft.”

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro told reporters at the Foreign Press Association in Rome this month that the fee was not meant to make money from tourists. “The cost of the surgery is higher than what we are planning on costing,” he said.

City officials hope to alleviate some of the stress on the city by encouraging tourists to visit on less crowded days. He also said knowing in advance the expected number of visitors will allow the city to better deploy services.

“We want to better manage the number of tourists and prevent mass tourism that makes it difficult for residents and tourists to ‘live in this city,'” Zuin said this month.

To track visitor flow, the city already monitors visitors via phone location data and surveillance cameras, a system some critics have cited as an example. older brother.

Venice is also under the watchful eye of UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, whose experts fear not enough is being done to protect it. Last year, Venice was at risk of being added to UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage sites after UNESCO experts cited mass tourism, along with climate change and development, as major threats to its future. They called on city hall to take measures to remedy the damage.

The city council approved the access fee days before UNESCO voted on its status, removing Venice from the “danger” list. But UNESCO officials said in a statement that “further progress is still needed” to preserve Venice.

Critics of the access fee note that authorities do not set limits on the number of visitors and say the nominal fee is little deterrent. As recently as Friday, city officials predicted that some 80,000 visitors would fill the city’s narrow callus and gardens for the 2024 Venice Biennale, which remains the world’s premier place to discover new art. announced.

Venice is also home to other cities that city authorities hope will reduce the number of “eat-and-run” tourists seeking “Moldi e Fuggi” tourism (Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square), the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Measures are being taken. They are just packing their lunches and throwing away trash, contributing little to the local economy.

After years of heated debate and protests by vocal Venetian residents, the city banned cruise ships from entering and exiting the city’s canals in 2021, but tourism expert Camatti said the ban on boats meant that day-trippers He said the number has not decreased.

This year, the city limited the number of participants per tour group to 25 and banned the use of megaphones.

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