(CNN) – With visitors swimming in the canals, sitting in the middle of the street to eat and even holding local workers hostage, Venice has become the poster child for tourists who behave badly.
So bad, in fact, and in such quantities, that the city had decided to start charging day trippers an entrance fee in an attempt to stop “hit-and-run” tourism of up to 30 million people a year.
The fee system was to be introduced this summer, but was postponed indefinitely thanks to the withdrawal of Venice’s economy as the number of visitors plummeted due to the pandemic.
But now it̵
City authorities have confirmed that the fee for anyone traveling into Venice without an overnight reservation will be launched on January 1, 2022.
“In light of the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to make an important gesture in terms of optics to encourage the return of tourists,” said Michele Zuin, the councilor responsible for the economy.
The city – whose economy is largely based on tourism – has suffered enormously during the pandemic, with parts of shops and restaurants closing. Locals are desperate for visitors to return – although many see this forced break as a chance to change tourism for the better.
Access to turning style
Before the pandemic, large crowds were a familiar sight in Venice.
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP / Getty Images
“Contributo di accesso”, or the entrance fee, will be priced according to how busy the city is in an attempt to deter people from entering on peak days and thereby spread them out throughout the season.
Official figures have not been confirmed in 2022, but for the planned implementation in 2020, it was planned to go up to a maximum of € 10 ($ 12) on the very busiest days.
Visitors staying overnight in the city are exempt, a step to encourage people to stay overnight and thereby put more money into the economy.
Zuin called his announcement as part of a plan to “restart the city’s economy” and said the next 14 months will be spent developing the system that allows people to reserve their slots in advance.
“Recovery is expected to take several years … the situation is critical,” she told CNN.
“Many local businesses, although not directly related to tourism, survived thanks to the tourism money.
“Since society desperately needs business, it makes sense for us to defer a tax that was designed in the pre-pandemic era of overtourism.
“However, this time should not be wasted. It is important to change the city’s tourism strategy by working to make the industry less profitable. A priority is to ensure that a larger share of the tourist revenue is spent on local businesses.”
Venice’s visitor numbers have become increasingly difficult for the city to handle.
And although some residents have protested the rise of knobs separating locals and tourists on busy days, and have compared the ticket system to turning the city into an amusement park, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who has been ahead of plans, won re-election in September.
About 70% of Venetian residents have left the city in the last 70 years – this is largely due to the economy turning to tourism.