ROME aEUR" Venice will require day-trippers, starting in January, to make reservations and to pay a fee for their visit to the historic lagoon city. This is in an effort to manage the many visitors to the historic center who frequently outnumber the residents, clogging narrow streets, and using footbridges across the canals.
Officials from Venice unveiled Friday new rules for day-trippers. They will be in effect January 16, 2023.
Tourists who do not wish to spend the night in hotels or other lodgings must register online and pay a fee. They range from $3 to 10 euros ($3.15 - $10.50) per head, depending on whether you book in advance and if the city is busy.
If they are stopped, transgressors could face fines up to 300 euros ($315) if they cannot show proof that the booking was made and payment with a QR Code.
About four-fifths all tourists visit Venice for just one day. The last year of full-time tourism before the pandemic saw 19 million day-trippers visit Venice. They only contributed a small fraction of the revenues from tourists who stayed at least one night.
The Venice tourism commissioner dismissed any suggestion that the measure would limit foreigners visiting the most visited city in Italy.
"We won’t talk about number cuts. Simone Venturini stated that we are talking about incentives as well as disincentives at a news conference held in Venice.
Although the reservation-and-fee model had been in discussion for a while, it was not implemented due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 travel restrictions made it nearly impossible for Venice to be visited aEUR", and allowed Venetians to have their city almost entirely by themselves, for only the second time in decades.
In the middle of the 1960s, mass tourism was established. While the visitor numbers grew, the number of Venetians who lived in the city steadily declined. This was due to congestion, high costs of transporting food in Venice and frequent flooding that causes damage to homes and businesses.
Because guests staying in hotels or pensions already pay a lodging fee, they are exempted from the reservation-and-fee obligation.
Venturini stated that Venice is trying to find the right balance between residents and visitors. He also promised that the new system would be easy to use for tourists. Venturini called Venice the "first city" to implement such a system for day-only tourists.
Officials from tourism expressed optimism that residents and tourists will be less frictional due to the fee-and reserve obligation. Peak tourism systems can see tourists outnumbering residents by 2-to-1 in a city measuring 5 km2 (2 miles) in size.
The population of Venice is just over 50,000. This is a fraction of the population that lived in Venice a few generations ago.
Children under 6 years old, persons with disabilities, and people who own vacation apartments in Venice are exempted from the day-tripper fee. However, they must show proof that they have paid real estate taxes.
The hordes visiting Venice's narrow streets and St. Mark's Square from cruise ships are a contributing factor to the increasing number of day-trippers disembarking on cruise ships. These visitors will also have to pay unless the cruise liner company has a set fee.