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These are the last days of unrestricted visiting to the Lagoon City

Tourists will have to pre-book their visits to Venice this summer

Tourists will have to pre-book their visits to Venice this summer

The introduction of the proposed entry fee has once again been postponed, though. This time, for 2023

Following a busy Easter weekend, which saw some 400,000 tourists visit the city, the local government of Venice has announced that, starting this summer, it will implement a new booking system for visitors. This means that anyone who is not a registered resident of the city will have to make an online reservation in advance in order to book a place to visit the historical centre of the city located in the lagoon.

"This is the right path and today many have understood it," exclaimed mayor Luigi Brugnaro, quoted by ANSA news agency, reflecting upon the heavy tourist flow over the Easter weekend. The mayor's idea is to materialize within a couple of months as a computer platform that will register the names of anyone intending to enter Venice, including those from the surrounding region of Veneto.

Turning the city into a restricted museum

The mayor added that Venice would be “the first in the world” to conduct “this difficult experiment.” Tourists planning on spending the night in Venice, however, will not need a prior reservation to enter the canal city. Likely, the hotel reservation will be equivalent to the city reservation. In fact, the authorities have resorted to this strategy as a way to counteract the phenomenon of what they call “hit and run” tourism, or people who only visit for a day.

Municipal authorities have long struggled with balancing Venice’s bustling tourism industry with the fragile nature of the city and its lagoon environment. The new scheme will aim to count the number of people in the city centre at all times. The counting will be done through the turnstile gates at entry points, such as the train station or St. Mark’s Square.

As for the proposed entry fee, which itself has been a subject of controversy, things seem to have not been finalized just quite yet. Now, the city council said that it planned to levy the entry fee in 2023, postponing its introduction once again. It would vary initially from a 3-euro standard daily rate to 6 euros on busier days, rising to 10 euros in the peak summer season.

Supporters of the proposal say it would finally treat Venice with the respect given to a precious museum, while critics say it would turn the lagoon city into a theme park.

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