Will the crowds in Piazza San Marco become a thing of the past?

Venice to charge tourists an entry fee

Venice to charge tourists an entry fee

The mayor of the city previews this would start possibly as early as next year

Now that the tourism flows have started returning, so has the talk about curbing them – especially as it applies to the city of Venice. On Sunday, 5 September, its mayor Luigi Brugnaro stated that restrictive measures, such as smart cameras, entry fees and turnstile counters will become part of the urban landscape there in an effort to stem excessive sightseeing.

This plan actually dates back to 2019

In reality, this restrictive plan is not new. It was already being discussed in 2019 but then the COVID pandemic kind of sorted the excessive tourism problem on its own, at least temporarily. Reuters reported that some 468 CCTV cameras, optical sensors and a mobile phone tracing system will be installed in the old city as a digital control on how many people exactly enter and leave the city.

Furthermore, the city will also measure how many gondolas and boats are sailing on the canals, together with the water levels. That kind of data will be collected every 15 minutes, giving an almost instant and constant picture of the various types of occupancy and dynamics happening in the Lagoon City.

Tourists will also be required to pay an entry fee if they want to explore Venice from up close. Naturally, residents will be exempted from that and so will be those tourists who have hotel reservations, since the tourist tax will be already included in the price of their accommodation. Would-be visitors should expect to pay somewhere between 3 and 10 euros.

Critics have argued that this would make the city look like an amusement park. Although others have already pointed out that with day trips and cruise ship visits many visitors have already been treating Venice as if it were a fairground, robbing it in a sense of its authentic feel.

The turnstiles and cameras will be there to ensure that the number of permitted visitors is not exceeded, meaning this will spell out the end of free movement in and out of the city in a bid to make it more sustainable.

Venice is visited by about 25 million tourists every year and authorities are already of the opinion that this would lead to the destruction of the urban heritage. Here we can recall that earlier this year cruise ships were banned from entering the historical core and canals.



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