Venice implements new access fees for day-trippers | What to know about the new system

The waterfront city is popular for Piazza San Marco, canals and bridges.

ByKelly McCarthy ABCNews logo
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Venice tests entry fee for day-trippers to help with overtourism
Venice tests entry fee for day-trippers to help with overtourism

VENICE, Italy -- Peak summer travel season is fast approaching, and some cities abroad have already implemented fees in an attempt to protect popular destinations from potential damage from increased tourism.

Bustling European cities from Barcelona to Amsterdam that get flooded with tourists, especially at historical hotspots during the high season, have used tourist taxes to help raise revenue without taxing local citizens.

Now, the city of bridges is following in the footsteps of Spain, Greece and Germany, which have all utilized a similar fee-based approach, testing a new entry fee for any visitors who come to Venice just for the day.

Earlier this year, the coastal city, known for it's lagoon, hand-blown glass and close proximity to the heart of Italy's popular Prosecco region, announced a new reservation system that would charge day trippers 5 euros to enter and enjoy Venice.

With nearly 40,000 visitors on average per day -- nearly double the city's population -- local authorities hope this move will help protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site from the influx of tourists.

Starting Thursday, travelers can download an app to pay and attain a QR code, which will be checked by inspectors to enter the city as a visitor. If someone traveling for the day in Venice is caught without the code, they may face a fine of up to 300 euros.

"It is not a revolution, but the first step of a path that regulates the access of daily visitors. An experiment that aims to improve the liveability of the city, who lives there and who works there. We will carry it forward with great humility and with the awareness that there may be problems," Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said in a statement on X regarding the announcement.

"The margins of error are wide, but we are ready, with humility and courage, to make all the changes that will serve to improve the procedure. Venice is the first city in the world to implement this path, which can be an example for other fragile and delicate cities that must be safeguarded," he continued.

Simone Venturini, Venice city councilor for tourism, told ABC News that the smart control center is within the most important part of the city -- Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark's Square.

"Authorities will use the new QR codes, plus cell phone data and the roughly 700 cameras around Venice to track and potentially regulate visitors," he explained. "We are switching to action after 60 years of only debate... our ultimate goal is to find a new balance between the needs of the residents and the needs of tourists."

Venturini told ABC News local officials had "a lot of discussion" with leaders in other cities who have worked to combat overtourism, including Amsterdam, Barcelona and Kyoto.

"We are talking together just to find the solution," he said.