Daytrippers to Venice, Italy, will be charged a tourism tax from spring 2024, the city council has announced, with details due to be confirmed later today.
Following up on previous discussions about ways to combat the effects of overtourism, a trial programme will now see those who visit but do not spend a night in the city charged what is being seen as an “entry-fee” of around 5 euros ($5.35).
The stated aim of the initiative is to “discourage daily tourism in certain periods”, officials said.
Essentially the city authorities intend to put people off making a daytrip to the city during peak seasonal times. 30 days have initially been listed in that bracket, including spring holidays and summer weekends.
Who will be affected?
If you’re under 14, a resident of Veneto, or you commute into the city for work or studies, you will not be affected. And if you are a tourist, you can get around the tax – perhaps counter-intuitively – simply by staying a night in the city.
Those targeted by the tax are the masses of daytrip visitors to the city who are seen as a prime cause of overcrowding without paying their fair share towards the city’s economy.
Day visitors to neighbouring islands and areas (like Burano and Murano) will also need to register and pay, but the same ticket covers multiple islands, including Venice.
How will it work?
Details are being confirmed, but an online registration system will operate with QR codes sent to users’ devices and “controllers” patrolling the city to check visitors’ credentials.
The earlier you book, the cheaper the tax could be. Authorities have decided that instead of a visitor number quota, in times of high demand, the price will go up.
Reliant on tourists
For a city whose service economy of retail and restaurants is hugely reliant on tourist spending, the tax is a risky move, hence the years of debate. How the city communicates the tax and reasons behind it will be key.
“This does not mean closing the city,” Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro clarified in a post on X, adding “Venice will always remain open to everyone.”
Why is a tax needed?
The Points Guy meanwhile has noted that in his experience of Venice, while daytrippers did cause crowding during the day, by the evening many restaurants seemed emptier.
This category of visitor could be argued then to be taking a toll on the city’s fabric and infrastructure, without having time to spread their footfall or their cash sufficiently around.
It is not just locals and authorities that are concerned. UNESCO has already advised that Venice be added to its list of endangered heritage sites, due to the toll being exacted by tourism, severe weather and climate change.