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Venice puts up a tourism toll

llustration by Kate Walker

Venice puts up a tourism toll


The Future. The Italian city of Venice is in the early stages of instituting a tax on tourists who only visit for the day. The hope is to ease congestion at famous hotspots and slow down the city’s gradual descent into the sea. But to win over business owners who have profited nicely from the never-ending foot traffic, city officials may need to promise the new tax will go toward initiatives that benefit all its residents.

Day tax
According to Bloomberg, Venice officials think the city has too much tourism.

  • To help clamp down on daytrippers clogging up popular hotspots (St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge), the city is introducing an entrance fee — somewhere between 3 and 10 euros ($3.20 and $10.60).
  • The toll includes nearby islands such as Lido, Murano, and Torcello.

The city still doesn’t know how exactly it will do this or even determine how long travelers stay, but it knows it needs to do something. According to city councilor Simone Venturini, Venice, with its frailties, isn’t suitable for ‘fast food’ tourism.”

Pack it up
Venice, a major cruise port for routes along the Adriatic Sea, is one of the most tourist-impacted destinations in the world. Roughly 30,000-40,000 people visit the canal-lined city every day. And on holidays like Easter weekend, that number skyrockets to 120,000.

That’s a lot of extra weight for a city that is literally sinking. In 2019, flooding (colloquially known as”acqua alta”) accounted for a billion euros in damage — a headache that pushed the city to ban large cruise ships from entering Venice’s lagoon.

But Venice isn’t the only European city overrun with tourism trying to do something about it. Amsterdam is limiting the number of travelers visiting the metro for its popular sex and drug industry, while Barcelona is aggressively curbing short-term rentals.

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