The massively popular destination of Venice, Italy, is planning to start charging visitors for access and cap daily entries, beginning in summer 2022, Bloomberg reported.
Italy’s famed sinking city, one of the world’s top tourism destinations, intends to require potential day visitors to reserve their entry in advance. It will also likely install turnstiles at important access points to the historical center to monitor attendance, according to Italian news outlet La Stampa.
Such measures to manage the overwhelming influx of tourists into the fragile area had been mulled over for years prior to the pandemic, which shut down tourism for months on end in 2020.
In that time, residents and officials got a taste of how peaceful their city could be, with the lagoon waters clearing, wildlife returning and local living having the space to flourish. It became even more apparent that tourist numbers needed to be regulated as the world recovers from the COVID-19 crisis and travel gradually resumes, to protect the quality of life for its residents and the visitor experience.
Just this month, Venice finally took an initial step toward reining in tourism activities that have a harmful effect on the city by banning large cruise ships from entering and docking inside its delicate lagoon. Cruise liners and other large vessels are being rerouted to dock at the mainland industrial port of Marghera until a new, dedicated cruise terminal can be planned and constructed.
The fee for entry into Venice will likely be somewhere between €3 (currently $3.51) and €10 (currently $11.69), depending upon the season and the number of visitors expected that day. Residents and their relatives, and tourists who hold hotel reservations inside the city are likely to be exempt from the entry fee.
Still, controversy continues over the notion of charging visitors to see the sights. City councilor Marco Gasparinetti said that such a move would turn Venice into a “theme park”. He proposed that, instead, access be restricted only in notoriously crowded areas, such as St. Mark’s Square.
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