Venice is a city like no other. Its signature canals full of gondolas peacefully gliding by has made it one of the top destinations in the world for romantics through the ages. And with architecture like St. Mark’s Basilica and Ponte di Rialto, few tourists can resist adding Venice to their Italian vacation itinerary.
However, a trip to Venice is about to get a bit more expensive. Starting in the spring of 2024, tourists wishing to enter Venice will have to pay a €5 fee, or about $5.40.
This fee won’t be charged to every tourist. Only those entering the “old” floating city for the day will be required to pay it. Tourists with rooms for the night will be exempt. Anyone age 14 or younger will be exempt as well. Others who do not have to pay include locals, those who have second homes in the city, and anyone who pays local property tax in Venice.
The fee also won’t be in place every day. It will be only be enforced during busy periods such as holiday weekends and peak Carnival period.
The move to charge a fee isn’t permanent, at least not yet. According to mayor Luigi Brugnaro, it will be a 30-day “experiment.” Whether or not the fee remains in place is yet to be seen.
According to city councilor for tourism Simone Venturini, the fee is designed to help manage overtourism and the effect it has on local Venetian residents.
“Aware of the urgency to find a new balance between the rights of those who live, work and study in Venice, and those who visit the city, we are setting ourselves up as global frontrunners,” he said.
Venturini doubled down that the purpose of the fee isn’t to make money, and will only go to cover the costs of operating the booking system.
He added, “Residents will get a better quality of life, and overnight visitors will experience more vivid emotions.”
Overtourism is Becoming a Worldwide Issue
Spurred on by the rush of tourists following COVID pandemic lockdowns, Venice isn’t the only location taking steps to combat too many visitors. Cities like Juneau, Alaska and Bar Harbor, Maine have started limited the number of cruise ships that can visit. Even Athens has instituted a cap on the number of visitors allowed into the famous Acropolis.
Does this mean that even more popular destinations will eventually start charging tourists to visit? It’s possible. But for now, it’s a good idea to purchase the right travel medical insurance or travel insurance and plan a trip outside of prime vacation season.