Venice will officially begin taxing day-trippers starting July 1, 2020, authorities in the city have announced, according to The Associated Press. The tax was introduced in 2018 and was originally slated to debut in May 2019, as reported by our sister publication Travel Agent, but it was criticized by the country’s tourism minister as “useless and damaging.”
The original plan was to charge €3 ($3.29) at first and raise it to €10 ($10.97) within three years; however, The Telegraph reports that when the system is launched in July 2020, tourists will pay €3 during the low season, €8 ($8.78) during high season and €10 during “critical” periods, such as summer weekends. Visitors will be able to pay the charge online with a credit card or from machines in the city, according to The Telegraph. By 2022, in addition to paying the tax, tourists will have to make an online booking just to enter Venice.
Day-trippers, in this instance, are defined as any tourist who arrives by coach, cruise ship, water taxi, plane or train. Good to know: The tax will also apply to islands in the Venetian lagoon, such as Murano or Burano.
The Telegraph reports that the goal of the tax is to make the millions of day-trippers who visit Venice each year contribute to the upkeep of the city, including offsetting the high charges that locals pay for services, such as trash collection.
Visitors staying overnight already pay a tax as part of their accommodation charge and exceptions will be made for those visiting Venice for work, study or family reasons.
The tax comes in a series of efforts put forward by Venice to curtail overtourism. In August, the city announced it’s planning to reroute larger cruise ships from the historic city center to ports across the lagoon, including upwards of one-third of ships with planned calls in Venice this year. Prior to this announcement, the mayor of Venice asked UNESCO to include the city on its blacklist in order to divert “giant cruise ships.”
The city also announced in May that tourists who misbehave will be fined upwards of €500 ($548) and will be banned from the city. Acts such as swimming in the canals, walking around shirtless and even sitting and eating on steps would result in the punishment. In a similar attempt to reduce the number of tourists stopping to eat on church steps, historic bridges and canal banks, the city, in May 2018, voted to ban the opening of any more takeaway food outlets for three years.
Most recently, Venice even began to crack down on souvenir shops that have become commonplace along the canals. In September, the Venice City Council unanimously approved a resolution regulating commercial activity—including the sale of plastic miniature gondolas, cheap carnival masks, crudely manufactured “Murano-style” trinkets and low-cost leather goods—in the popular tourist area around Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal.