12 June 2024

Venice ‘more popular than ever’ despite €5 tourist tax

Business Travel
| The European |

Venice’s plan to cut visitor numbers with a €5 access fee has spectacularly backfired after it emerged more tourists are flocking to the Italian city than ever before

The controversial entry charge was introduced last month in the hope of controlling the “unmanageable” volume of day trippers.

Tourists must pay €5 (£4.26) to enter the city’s historic centre on busy days until mid-July as part of the 29-day trial.

Overnight visitors are currently exempt from the entry fee as the tax is included in the accommodation charges of hotels and Airbnb rentals.

In high season, more than 80,000 visitors flock to St Mark’s Square and Venice’s other attractions. By comparison, the city has just 49,000 permanent residents.

But nearly a month on, the plan has been branded a “total failure” after revenue data showed visitor numbers are on the rise compared to the same period in previous years, according to The Independent.

In a press conference on Monday, opposition councillor Giovanni Andrea Martini, architect Franco Migliorini and Enrico Tonolo, the head of a Venice residents’ association, questioned the purpose of the ticketing system.

Mr Martini said: “A month after the introduction of the ticket, the data shows that the contribution has been useless, so much so that even the municipal administration has had to admit that the revenue from the €5 payments has far exceeded expectations, meaning more tourists have arrived.”

Concerns were also raised about the number of apartments that were being used for tourist accommodation.

“Venice suffers from social desertification. There are whole districts that have been emptied of Venetians. If this trend continues then it is a mathematical certainty that the city will die,” Mr Martini added.

Simone Venturini, the councillor responsible for tourism, reportedly defended the scheme but admitted the entry fee may be too low, according to The Times.

He said: “We are not going to curb tourism in 15 days.

“This is a long-term project and we may increase the price next year so it is too soon to talk about results.”

Photo by Chait Goli/Pexels

Main image photo by Son Tung Tran/Pexels

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