ROME — Venice is to become the first city in the world to charge visitors an entrance fee.
To help manage overcrowding and discourage day-trippers, city authorities announced Friday that they will charge tourists up to €10, starting in January 2023.
The city has been massively overcrowded for years, with tourists generating mountains of refuse and bringing the city’s narrow walkways to a virtual standstill in busy periods.
Once the charges come in, visitors will need to make an advance online booking and pay between €3 and €10, depending on the time of year. Inspectors will patrol the city and have the power to stop tourists and demand to see proof of payment. Failure to have paid online will be punishable with a fine of up to €300.
The money raised from the scheme will be spent on reducing the garbage collection bills paid by Venetians, which are higher than those in neighboring cities.
Residents, and people coming to visit them, and tourists with an overnight booking in a hotel will be exempt and can download a certificate to prove they don’t have to pay.
Other cities affected by mass tourism will be watching closely to see if Venice’s pioneering model works.
Simone Venturini, the city’s tourism chief, told a press conference Friday that the measure was “truly revolutionary” but warned it might take time and adjustments to get the system working perfectly.
He said: “It’s a journey, we know that being the first city in the world to do this, we would be arrogant to think that it will all work perfectly. We are not saying we have resolved all problems of over-tourism, or that we have the magic solution. We will constantly improve it.”
Michele Zuin, the city’s budget chief, said the fee was about disincentivizing visitors at busy times to create better flows of tourism. “The city remains open. Venice is not closed,” he said.