A Venice tourist tax is being imposed on day-trippers as the famous Italian city battles to cope with overtourism.
Short-stay visitors to Venice will soon have to pay a “landing tax” of up to 10 euros in a move effectively creating an admission fee for entry to the floating city.
Authorities in Venice are introducing the charge this summer so that the income raised can help with clearing the rubbish left by an estimated 20 million tourists who visit each year.
The Venice tax move comes amid growing concern among Venetians about the impact that day-trippers from the many giant cruise ships moored in the lagoon are having on the city’s character. It is thought that only one visitor in every five stays in Venice overnight.
With the daily throng of tourists in Venice sometimes twice the number of residents, officials in the city have taken other measures in recent months to address overcrowding. This has included limiting entry to St Mark’s Square, such as during the Venetian carnival in February when the historic piazza was closed once the capacity of 23,000 had been reached.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee recently threatened to put the city on its danger list, having expressed “extreme concern” about the impact of tourism on Venice’s historical sites.
But the new tax, which will vary between 3 euros and 10 euros depending on peak times, has drawn criticism from some who say it will turn Venice into a fee-charging museum.
Thailand beach closure
Venice is not alone in facing overtourism, with other Italian cities including Florence expressing interest in adopting similar tax schemes.
Further afield, authorities in Thailand have closed Maya Beach after the location made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach sustained significant environmental damage as a result of visits from as many as 5,000 tourists a day.
And in Peru, the number of permits for visiting the Inca Trail is now limited to 500 a day, with 2,500 available for Machu Picchu.