(CNN) – Countdown. From January 16, 2023, visitors to Venice – that jewel in Italy’s tourism crown – will have to pay for the privilege.
It is set to become the first city in the world to require an entry fee. The launch date was announced by Venice Tourism Board member Simon Venturini at a press conference on Friday.
Venturini described the new measure as a “great revolution”, and a solution to the outbound tourism problem that the lake city has struggled with for decades.
The cost of the ticket ranges from a minimum of three euros to 10 euros. The price will not be fixed, but will vary according to the number of visitors: the more requests for entry, the higher the cost.
Venturini explained that the goal was not to “close the city”, but rather to get people to book their attendance to reduce the “tourist peaks”. “Venice is a living city and it has to stay that way,” he said.
The complex ticketing system and online platform will be revealed this fall. Michelle Zwain, a member of the Budget Council, explained that there are many exceptions to the authorization of the entrance ticket.
Residents and children under the age of six, as well as people with disabilities, homeowners, those who come to the city for health reasons or to visit relatives, and those who come to attend a sporting or cultural event will be exempted.
Hotel guests will also avoid paying the entrance fee because they will already be paying a tourist tax through their hotel.
“It is not a system to make money but to manage tourist flows,” Zwain emphasized. The proceeds from the entrance fee will go towards lowering Venice’s taxes, which are already very high due to the large volume of tourists that must be accommodated.
Entrance fees will apply to Venice’s historic center and the following islands:
Lido di Venezia, Pellestrina, Murano, Burano, Torcello, Sant’Erasmo, Mazzorbo, Mazzorbetto, Vignole, S. Andrea, La Certosa, S. Servolo, S. Clemente, Poveglia.
Fines for ticket violations range from €50 to €300.
“Covid made us realize that what was happening on a daily basis before Covid is no longer acceptable – the mindset has changed, as has the sensitivity [towards crowds],” He said.
He explained that the reservation system “gives us the opportunity to see how many people are expected for that day, and calibrate the services according to the number.”
Venturini also said in April that the portal would inform people who might want to change their mind.
“We can say, dear visitor, we do not recommend coming on this date because it is Viragosto [August public holiday] Or Easter – there will be a lot of people so it will prevent you from making a quiet visit, and if you do it after a week you can enjoy your visit more.”
Venturini also predicted that Venice would not be the last to pose a fee.
“I think many other European cities that live with large numbers of day hikers are watching us to see how they can offer [a similar scheme],” He said.
The fee has so intrigued visitors that the number of visitors increased from 40,000 in 2009 to 1 million in 2018.
Feature image: Pre-pandemic crowds in Piazza San Marco in Venice. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)
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