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Fed-up Venetians revolt against fee to enter city

Venice has introduced a fee for tourists who only plan on spending a day.

Venice has introduced a fee for tourists who only plan on spending a day. Photo: Getty

Venice has become the first city in the world to introduce a fee for visitors in an attempt to curb the constant flow of day-tripping tourists, and not everyone is happy.

The 29-day trial has begun in the capital of Italy’s Veneto region and those just planning on spending the day will have to cough up $8 to see the canals and historic architecture.

However, there are some exceptions. Residents of the Veneto region, people who work, study or were born in Venice, children younger than 14 and anyone who has booked accommodation in the city will be exempt from the ticket requirement.

The trial will run until May 5 and from then until mid-July, and it will be enforced on most weekends.

By the end of the year, it will be determined whether or not the entry fee will become a permanent fixture.

While the constant flow of visitors to the tourist hotspot is lucrative, over tourism has caused problems for some time.

The historic centre with the famous Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge and the many canals has fewer than 50,000 permanent residents.

Some days during the busy season there are more than twice as many tourists than residents.

It was estimated there were 15 million visitors to Venice in 2023.

In the past, researchers have referred to Venice as the “embodiment of over tourism”, where residents are seeing the impacts of thousands of visitors a day taking its toll on the canal city.

Tourists stand as they wait to pass controls and buy tickets in front of Santa Lucia train station in Venice on April 25, 2024. The new strategy to lower the number of tourists visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site calls for day-trippers to pay a five-euro ticket to enter the historic city centre and is due to start on April 25.

The fee is being trialled and it will later be decided whether or not it is permanent.

Protests in Venice

Near where the city’s main bus terminal is located, some 500 people gathered to protest the fee, the Guardian reported.

One of the protest’s organisers, Federica Toninello, said the fee does not “cater to the necessities” of the residents of Venice, which is why they are angry.

Residents of Venice don’t have to pay the fee, but they will need to continually prove that they live there, Toninello said, according to the Guardian.

“This sets a dangerous precedent,” another protester reportedly said.

“We are the only city in the world that you have to pay to enter. This goes against the Italian Constitution and the European principle of freedom of movement.”

Other protesters told CNN the implementation of the fee does not come with other measures that would protect the city, like rent containment or policies for urban development.

Ruggero Tallon said the protesters had risen up against the mayor’s concept of a “closed city, a museum city”.

“A ticket does nothing,” Tallon told CNN.

“It doesn’t stop the monoculture of tourism. It doesn’t ease the pressure on Venice. It’s a medieval tax and it’s against freedom of movement.”

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