Spread the love

To counter overtourism, Venice imposes an entry ticket of 5 euros

Photo: Marco Bertorello Agence France-Presse To enter Venice on busy days, tourists must download a QR code.

Gildas Le Roux – Agence France-Presse in Venice

Published yesterday at 8:42 a.m. Updated yesterday at 1:49 p.m.

  • Europe

Tourism in Venice “must change” if we want to protect this fragile and endangered city, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, its mayor said on Thursday, welcoming the smooth start of a paid entrance fee of 5 euros to his city.

“Today we spent more money than we took in, but […] c 'is a way to make people understand that we must change and therefore dilute visits' throughout the year, declared Luigi Brugnaro. “People understand that,” he assured.

Faced with the damage caused by overtourism and the lack of appropriate measures to curb it, UNESCO had threatened to place the city on the list of “world heritage in danger”.

To avoid this, the City committed in September to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, meeting in Riyadh, to put in place a visitor flow management system this year.

For this world premiere, Venice sold some 15,700 tickets, according to official figures released at the end of the day. There is no cap on the number of tickets available.

These tickets, which are in the form of QR codes sold online or on site, must be presented to controllers stationed in particular on the station square, the main access to the City of the Doges.

To counter overtourism, Venice imposes an entry ticket of 5 euros

Photo: Luca Bruno Associated Press For the first time on Thursday, entry tickets costing 5 euros must be presented to controllers stationed in particular on the station square.

“The objective is to define a new system for managing tourist flows and to discourage day tourism in Venice during certain periods”, recalled the town hall on Thursday.

“I think it’s good, because it will perhaps slow down the tourist numbers in Venice,” says Sylvain Pélerin, a French tourist who has been coming to the lagoon regularly for 50 years.

In front of Santa Lucia station, the main point of entry into the city, a ticket office has been set up from scratch to help tourists without the precious ticket.

For the mayor, “the greatest satisfaction was seeing people approach [the checkpoints] waving their QR code.” “These people understood” what was at stake, he rejoiced.

“An experiment”

Venice is the first tourist city in the world to impose an entrance fee, like a theme park, while movements hostile to overtourism are increasing, particularly in Spain, pushing the authorities to act to reconcile the well-being of residents with a crucial economic sector.

The mayor recognized in early April that it was “a experimentation”, which will undoubtedly be closely followed by other major tourist cities around the world.

Venice, one of the most visited cities in the world, has already banned giant cruise ships from its historic center, whose swarms of passengers must also show their credentials.

At peak attendance, 100,000 tourists sleep in Venice, in addition to tens of thousands of daily visitors. In comparison, there are around 50,000 inhabitants in the city center, which continues to be depopulated.

At this stage, however, the experience has a very limited scope : for 2024, only 29 busy days are affected by this new tax, which will be applied almost every weekend from May to July.

Many exemptions

This tax further targets only daily tourists entering the Old City between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. They can download their QR code on the site intended for this purpose, available in English, Spanish, French and German, in addition to Italian.

A fine of 50 to 300 euros is planned to sanction tourists who try to slip through the cracks, even if local authorities have said they want to favor persuasion over repression.

Also read

  • Venice announces that tourist groups must be limited to 25 people
  • Venice will test a tax to counter mass tourism
  • Stifled by tourists, cities arm themselves with fines, laws and taxes

Tourists sleeping at least one night on site are exempt and receive a free QR code of their accommodation. Many other exemptions are planned: for those under 14, students… On Thursday, around 97,300 people benefited, according to the town hall.

But this new measure is not unanimous among the Venetians, some seeing it as an attack on freedom of movement and a further step towards the museumification of their city.

“We do not we are not a museum or a nature reserve, but a city. “We shouldn't pay” to access it, protests Marina Dodino, a retired fifty-year-old who is part of a local residents' association, ARCI Venezia.

A demonstration at the end of the morning not far from the station brought together some 300 people in a good-natured atmosphere, who marched behind a large banner saying “No to the ticket! Yes to housing and services for all.”

This ticket is “the apotheosis of the museification of Venice […] We are in a city where Airbnb monopolize all the housing, where the mayor could regulate tourist rentals but does not do so,” laments Federica Toninello, 32, spokesperson for a local association.

“If we want to solve the tourism problem, we have to start with the housing problem,” she concludes.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116