Over the past few years Venice has been in the news for its day trippers’ tax. The city has been struggling with overtourism for years and right before the pandemic started the authorities started discussing possible measures to tackle the problem.
The idea of a day tripper tax came around in 2019, Venice’s busiest year on record, but since Covid-19 put a complete stop to tourism worldwide, authorities had other priorities. Once visitors started coming in once again at the beginning of the year, the tax was brought up again.
Covid made us realize that what was an everyday occurrence before covid isn’t acceptable anymore, the mentality has changed, as has the sensitivity [towards crowds].Simone Venturini, the councillor responsible for tourism, told RAI, the state TV network
In 2019, the busiest year on record, 23 million tourists squeezed through the narrow streets of the city. During this year’s Easter weekend, 120,000 visitors came to the city on Saturday and 158,000 on Sunday. This, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said, showed once again that implementing a booking system for say trips is the right thing to do “for a more balanced management of tourism”.
In April, the Mayor and city councillor for tourism Simone Venturini said that the system was almost ready and should have been implemented in a few weeks’ time, however they later confirmed that this summer will only see the trial version of the booking and fee system, with the full implementation to come in January. Now, a final date has been fixed. Councillor Venturini announced at a press conference last week that 16 January 2023 will mark the beginning of a new era for the city.
The point of the measure is not to deter tourists from coming to Venice, but to better manage their influx. The booking system allows visitors to check in advance how busy the city could be at a certain date and maybe reschedule their visit if they want to avoid big crowds. The 3 to 10 euros fee will help lower residents’ taxes, which, councillor for budged Michele Zuin says, “are already very high due to the large volume of tourists that need to be accommodated”.
The reality of overtourism has degraded the regular lives of locals, with many having decided to leave Venice for good. The day trip tax is only one of the many measures taken by the city to manage the problem. Among others are the banning of cruise ships in the city centre, but also of low-cost souvenir shops.