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Venice Will Start Charging Tourists Up to $11 Just for Visiting During the Day

Jetting off to Italy isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the dent in your Seamless budget for the food, wine, and Instagram pics alone. Literally millions of tourists from all over the world cram into the boot-shaped peninsula every year, hitting the...

Jetting off to Italy isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the dent in your Seamless budget for the food, wine, and Instagram pics alone. Literally millions of tourists from all over the world cram into the boot-shaped peninsula every year, hitting the usual hotspots like Rome, Florence, and, of course, Venice. But the latter city is so popular among travelers that it’s launching a new surge pricing of sorts for visitors during the day.

To combat the high volume of visitors clogging up its waterways, Venetian officials have announced plans to begin charging day visitors up to $11 (€10) to enter, according to a video posted on Twitter by Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. This tourist tax isn’t new, but used to only apply to people spending the night in Venice. Those who try to skate by without paying could be fined $511 (€450) if caught. While we’re not mathematicians, it seems like it’d be easier -- and more financially prudent -- to just pay the fee.

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.


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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it -- find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.