The tax won’t go into effect immediately, according to a CNN report. For the rest of 2019, visitors will be charged $3.40 (€3). Starting January 1, 2020, the price will rise to $6.80 (€6), except for a few typically quiet days throughout the year during which it’ll still cost about $3.40. Busier days, however, will cost $9 (€8) and exceptionally busy days, $11.
Some people won’t have to worry about the tax at all. Those lucky folks exempt from paying include residents, commuters, students, and kids under 6 years-old. For everyone else, the tourist tax will be included in your ticket for whatever mode of transport you arrive in Venice on, be it train or boat.
Venice’s tourist tax is an attempt to fight overtourism, which has been detrimental to the city’s infrastructure. Nearly 30 million tourists flock to the city each year, CNN reported. The Venetian government says all the money collected from the tax will go towards waste management and other costs associated with maintaining the City of Water, which seems fair. Officials are hopeful it will also help improve living conditions for Venetians.
“From today, the disembarking tax in the historical center of Venice is law, Brugnaro said in a video published on December 30, 2018. “This will help us better manage the city, keep it clean, and offer visitors better services.”
Many locals support the decision to charge tourists, who come to marvel at the city without considering the environmental and social costs of their trip. One local, in particular, told CNN in December he was fed up with overcrowding caused by tourism, and hoped the tax would help with that.
“As a Venetian I often found myself stuck in crowded lanes. Venice is engulfed by tourists and we have to reduce the day trippers in favor of a more qualified, let’s call it ‘luxury’ tourism. The alternative is simply that we all are uncomfortable in Venice,” Marco Malafante, who manages luxury vacation rentals in Venice, said at the time.
Others, like a gondolier identified only as Cuba, think the tax will only make things worse. He told the outlet he feared charging people to visit for the day would transform Venice, a city rich in history, to turn into a kind of “Disneyland.” While Disneyland may be the happiest place on Earth, living there seems kind of nightmarish.
“Entering Venice will be like entering into a museum, I don’t think the measure will help the problem of transforming Venice into a Disneyland, with fake glass shops and piazza sellers replacing the old ‘bottega’ or artisan shops,” he said.
All said, if you’re planning a trip to Venice in the near future, be prepared to pay up. Remember, the added fee is nominal when you consider all that you’ll get to experience, and all that will hopefully be preserved for long after you leave.