Venice – Venice plans to test a controversial fee system for daytrippers starting next spring to limit crowds in the World Heritage city. According to the city administration, daytrippers will be charged a fee of five euros for entry to the historic centre. The aim, it said, is to “scale down” daytime tourism in the Italian lagoon city “at certain times” in recognition of Venice’s “fragility and uniqueness.
The controversial project has yet to be approved by the city council. Many details are still unclear, especially regarding the number of tickets available each day.
On Tuesday, the council board approved a 30-day trial period expected to cover holidays and weekends in the spring and summer of 2024. Residents, commuters, students, children under 14, and tourists staying overnight in the city would be exempt from the entrance fee, it said in a statement.
It was “necessary to regulate the flow of tourists during certain periods,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro explained. However, he added, this does not mean the city will be “closed.” “Venice will always be open to everyone.”
A world heritage site under threat
Founded in the 5th century, the island city is one of the most visited in the world, full of architectural treasures and works of art. At peak times, 100,000 tourists stay there each night, plus tens of thousands of day visitors.
With the new fee system, Venice will become a “pioneer at the global level, as now explained by the City Councillor for Tourism, Simone Venturini. He said it was not about making money but finding a “new balance between the rights of those who live, study, or work in Venice and those who visit the city.”
Unesco declared Venice and the associated lagoons a World Heritage Site for Humanity 1987. But in late July, Unesco recommended that the city be considered a World Heritage Site in danger. The Italian lagoon city was at risk of “irreversible” damage if the authorities in Italy did not do more to protect it, the UN Cultural Organisation said in justifying its recommendation. The World Heritage Council of Unesco member states will vote on the classification in mid-September.
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