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Day visitors to Venice to pay fee otherwise face fine as high as €300 under new scheme

Day visitors to Venice to pay fee otherwise face fine as high as €300 under new scheme

D

aytrippers to Venice will have to pay a fee to visit the Italian city, under new rules announced on Friday.

Officials said tourists who do not stay overnight in accommodation will have to sign up online for the day and will pay a fee ranging from €3 (£2.59) to €10 (£8.62) per person.

The cost will depend on advance booking, whether it is peak season or if the city is crowded.

If it isn’t paid, fines could be imposed as high as €300 (£258). Those stopped by enforcers will have to show proof they booked and paid with a QR code.

The new scheme will come into effect from January 16, 2023.

Since guests at hotels and pensions already pay a lodging tax, they are exempt from the reserve-and-fee obligation.

It comes after cruise ships were banned from entering the centre of the historic city in April 2021.

Critics argued the ships cause pollution and eroded the foundations of the city, which suffers regular flooding.

The environmental challenges are partly why the number of Venetians living in the city has steadily dwindled – overwhelmed by congestion, the high cost of delivering food and other goods in car-less Venice, and frequent flooding damaging homes and businesses.

Flooded St. Mark’s Square during high tide

/ REUTERS

Roughly four-fifths of all tourists come to the Italian holiday hotspot just for the day. In 2019, the last full year of tourism before the pandemic, there were 19 million day-visitors.

The reservation-and-fee approach had been discussed a few years ago, but was put on hold during the pandemic.

Covid-19 travel restrictions saw tourism in Venice nearly vanish – and let Venetians have their city practically to themselves, for the first time in decades.

In peak tourism season, tourists can outnumber residents two to one, in the city that measures two square miles in area.

Venice’s resident population numbers just over 50,000, a small fraction of what it was a couple of generations ago.

Exceptions to the day-tripper fees include children younger than six, people with disabilities and those owning holiday apartments in Venice, provided they can show proof they pay real estate taxes.

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