The Italian city of Venice is considering implementing a ticketing system for its popular St. Mark’s Square to regulate the number of tourists.
The city attracts more than 25 million tourists every year, which has led the local council to introduce a fee to enter the square.
The famous Venice attraction is home to St. Mark’s Basilica and St. Mark’s Campanile, the bell tower in the corner of the square.
Following a discussion about the legal and practical implications of charging tourists to visit the site, the system will reportedly be trialled next summer. However, Paola Mar, a city councillor for tourism told Il Gazzettino the payment of an entrance ticket to St. Mark’s Square “is an eventuality that exists, though not immediately.”
Venice’s city council has agreed upon 23 measures aimed at reducing the number of tourists in certain areas to combat overcrowding and vandalism.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) reported in 2015 “the capacity of the city, the number of its inhabitants and the number of tourists is out of balance and causing significant damage.”
The organisation warned that Venice would be placed on its endangered list unless preventative action was taken.
Dario Franceschini, the Minister of Culture, said: “I am opposed to the ticket. You cannot charge an access card to an old town, a square. Cities must remain open, free.”
According to UK newspaper the Telegraph, anti-tourism flyers put out by Venice residents began appearing last summer with banners hung from bridges that read: “Tourists go away!!! You are destroying this area!!”