Traveling to Venice, Italy, is getting a bit more expensive. Government officials are imposing a tourism fee starting in 2023.
Starting January 1, 2023, tourists planning to visit Venice for the day must make an advance reservation and pay a fee. This only applies to day trippers, not overnight guests. Tickets will range from $3.25–$10.85, with the price depending on the time of year. If you don’t have a ticket, city officials will turn you away at the city’s entrances. Even though tickets aren’t required until 2023, they will be available online starting in June 2022.
“Today many have understood that making the City bookable is the right way to take, for a more balanced management of tourism,” Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted on April 18. “We will be the first in the world in this difficult experimentation.”
Plans to limit tourism in Venice started before the COVID-19 pandemic, where some 80,000 people visited the city each day. It was getting so overcrowded that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee was considering adding Venice to the list of endangered heritage sites. Since then, Venice banned large cruise ships from entering its ports in the hopes of cutting down on the numbers of daily visitors.
The tourism fee and reservation system is part of a larger effort by the city of Venice to crack down on overtourism because it is potentially damaging the floating city. Venice continues to sink due to rising sea levels, but city officials say the sheer weight of the large number of tourists is causing the city to sink even further. The city is also installing closed circuit cameras to monitor people’s movement throughout the city.
Venice officials say the increase in tourism is also driving up living costs for the city’s permanent residents, causing them to leave. More than 15,000 residents have left Venice in the last 5 years alone.
“Venice is a small and very delicate city,” the mayor explained. “The number of visitors must be compatible with Venice’s size. If there is no room, you won’t be able to come in.”