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‘We want a vision that does not have tourism at its centre’: Venice residents protest new entry fee

The protesters say they want a different vision for the city which doesn’t put tourism front and centre.
The protesters say they want a different vision for the city which doesn’t put tourism front and centre. Copyright Levi van Leeuwen
Copyright Levi van Leeuwen
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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The protesters say they want a different vision for the city which doesn’t put tourism front and centre.

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Activists in Venice have staged a protest against the new day-tripper entry fee which will come into force on 25 April.

A social housing group occupied a council building on Tuesday morning, displaying banners with slogans criticising the €5 tourist charge.

The organisation also announced plans for a demonstration on the day the ticket will be launched.

The protesters say they want a different vision for the city which doesn’t put tourism front and centre.

Venice activists slam council spending on entry fee

Activists from Venice’s Social Assembly for Housing and the Solidarity Network for Housing have criticised council spending on the day-tripper fee.

During their demonstration, they carried posters reading ‘Home, rights, dignity’ and ‘Venice is not a museum’.

The activists entered council offices and requested to speak with the mayor and the administration.

They shouted “We don't need a ticket, but we need a political will to address the problem of housing in Venice," according to local press.

Venetians call for better housing not a day-tripper fee

The demonstrators are some of the many Venetians who consider the housing plan drawn up by the municipality to be insufficient.

“We are students, we are workers. We have jobs that don't allow us to pay rent. Is this the idea for the city?” they asked during the protest.

According to one activist, the demonstration on Tuesday and the one planned for 25 April “must not only lead to a resounding ‘no’ to the entrance ticket but also a ‘yes’ to a new vision of the city.”

“We want a vision that does not have tourism at its centre, but has homes and services for citizens,” Federica Toninello from the Social Assembly for Housing told local press.

“We have homeless people who work, but they don't have a home; it's something shocking, paradoxical,” added Susanna Polloni from the Solidarity Network for Housing.

Venice council has earmarked €27.7 million to repair and redevelop around 500 apartments in the historic centre, islands and mainland.

There are reportedly around 2,000 properties currently lying empty.

The council has said proceeds from the entry fees will go towards services that help the residents of the city including maintenance, cleaning and reducing living costs.

But critics say it will do little to moderate the influx of tourism which in turn is one of the main factors for the depopulation of Venice.

As of last year, there are now more tourist beds in the city than residents.

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