Attractions & Experiences

Venice entry fee failing to restrict tourist numbers

View from Academia Bridge, City of Venice, Italy

Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash

Venice appears to be failing in its bid to restrict tourist numbers through the recent imposition of a €5 access fee.

The Italian city last month introduced the charge for all visitors entering the city for a day trip. Local residents, workers, minors and those staying in accommodation in Venice are exempt.

So far, in the 15 days in which the €5 entry fee has been applied, there have been an average of 16,500 fee payers. The project has therefore brought in €1.23m – almost twice the amount expected by the local authority for the full year.

While the city may be bringing in revenue through the fee, it may be some time before a profit can be generated. It is estimated the system will cost €3m this year in technology, marketing and personnel costs.

Venice’s tourist numbers unaffected

The initiative also seems to be failing in its target of cutting tourist numbers. Some 70,000 total visitors were in Venice on Sunday, May 19. That was more than the 65,000 in the city on the early June national holiday.

Giovanni Andrea Martini, part of the ‘Whole City Together’ council group, said: “Venice is in disarray because it has been abandoned, or rather used only to raise money. The idea of ​​the entrepreneur mayor is this: the public interest comes last while that of private individuals comes first.”

Martini’s group wants to see an actual limit on tourist numbers rather than an entry fee charged. They want the local authority to focus on rebuilding Venice as a place to live rather than just a tourist destination.

Petition: Put fee cash towards maintenance

Meanwhile, an online petition has been created demanding that proceeds from the entry fee put towards the maintenance of Venice.

The petition, which has already attracted 12,500 signatures, asks the municipal council for “resolutions and administrative/legal acts that bind the revenues derived from entrance tickets to the ancient city in works for its maintenance”. The works listed include the excavation of canals, installation of modern sewers and renovation of vacant houses.

“It is time that profits from tourism are reinvested directly in the conservation of our beloved Venice,” the petition creator wrote. “Let’s make a difference for the future of our city.”

The Venice Access Fee will apply on 29 days, starting from April 25 to May 5 and also during weekends in May and June – excluding the Festa della Repubblica weekend in June – as well as the first two weekends of July. The day-tripper fee will only apply during peak hours from 8:30am to 4pm.

Italy’s national government gave Venice approval to introduce a ‘landing fee’ of up to €10 for tourists back in 2019.