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Venice to charge day-trippers to preserve historic city

Starting in January, Venice will oblige day-trippers to make reservations and pay a fee to tour the historic lagoon city, in order to better manage visitors who often outnumber residents in the historic center. , blocking narrow streets and heavily trafficked pedestrian bridges. crossing canals.

Venetian authorities on Friday unveiled the new rules, which will take effect from January 16, 2023.

Tourists who choose not to stay overnight – and do not patronize local hotels or otherwise pay for accommodations – will need to make an online reservation for the day they plan to visit the city. Huh. Reservations cost between 3 and 10 euros per person (equivalent to $3.15 to $10.50), depending on how far in advance the booking is made and what time of year it is.

Tourists who do not follow the rules can be fined up to 300 euros ($315) for stopping and not showing proof of reservation with a QR code.

Roughly four-fifths of all tourists visit Venice for the day. In 2019, the last full year of tourism before the pandemic began, about 19 million day-trippers visited Venice and provided only a fraction of the revenue from tourists who stayed at least one night.

Venice’s tourism commissioner rejected any suggestion that the measure would try to limit the number of out-of-towners visiting Italy’s most-visited city.

“We’re not talking about the number cutoff. We’re talking about encouragement and discouragement,” Simone Venturini said during a press conference in Venice.

friction between visitors and residents

The reservation and fee approach was discussed a few years back, but was put on hold during the pandemic. COVID-19 travel restrictions nearly made tourism in Venice virtually disappear – and for the first time in decades, Venetians were allowed to practically own their city.

In fact tourism has resumed, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. with So many Americans are taking to the skies againThe incident has been dubbed the “Revenge Yatra”.

Mass tourism began in Venice in the mid-1960s. Visitors continued to grow, while the number of Venetians living in the city continued to decline as it became overwhelmed by the overcrowding, high cost of transporting food and other goods to the vehicle-free city of canals. Frequent flooding also damaged homes and businesses, causing headaches for local residents.

Since guests staying in hotels and pensions already pay accommodation tax, they are exempted from the new reservation system.

With the new rule, Venice aims to find this balance between “(Venetian) residents and long-term and short-term” visitors, Venturini said, promising that the new system will be “easier for visitors” to manage. They claim that Venice is the first city in the world to introduce such a fee for day-trippers.

The tourism official hopes that once it is implemented, the fee and reservation system will “reduce the friction between day visitors and residents.” During peak tourism season, tourists can increase the number of residents in the city by a ratio of 2 to 1, which is only five square kilometers (two sq mi) in area.

dwindling population

Venice has a population of around 50,000, a small fraction of what it was a few generations ago.

Other smaller Italian cities have seen their resident populations shrink and offer practically give home To attract visitors to the regions and stimulate their local economies. Sambuca and Gangi in Sicily, each with a population of less than 10,000, are selling homes for bargain basement prices of less than 1 euro.

Children under the age of six, people with disabilities and those who have a second home in Venice are exempt from paying the day-tripper fee. Second homeowners must prove that they pay real estate taxes to avoid charges.

Cruise ship passengers contribute to Venice’s problem of overcrowding, especially in and around St. Mark’s Square. They also have to pay fees.

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