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Venice starts fining tourists who skip entrance fee to historic centre

A porter carries tourists luggages outside the main train station in Venice, Italy, Wednesday 24 April 2024
A porter carries tourists luggages outside the main train station in Venice, Italy, Wednesday 24 April 2024 Copyright Luca Bruno/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Luca Bruno/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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But some locals aren’t convinced the entry fee or the associated fines will have any positive impact on local residents.

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Visitors to Venice who fail to pay the entry fee to the historic city centre will face fines starting at 10 times the €5 ticket price.

Starting this year, tourists will have to pay to enter the lagoon city, a move authorities have introduced to clamp down on overtourism.

The charge will be in place on 29 days between April and mid-July.

“We need to find a balance, a new balance between the tourists and residents,” said the municipal councillor for tourism, Simone Venturini.

“We need to safeguard the spaces of the resident, of course, and we need to discourage the arrival of day trippers on particular days”.

A porter waits for tourists outside the main train station in Venice next to totem's explanation for tourist entrance tax
A porter waits for tourists outside the main train station in Venice next to totem's explanation for tourist entrance taxLuca Bruno/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Officials have avoided calling the charge a tax and have downplayed the possibility of waits to enter the city, emphasising there will be no turnstiles or physical barriers.

Venice has long suffered under the pressure of overtourism, but officials say pre-pandemic estimates ranging from 25 million to 30 million visitors a year are not reliable and that the pilot project also aims to come up with more exact figures.

But some locals aren’t convinced the entry fee or the associated fines will have any real impact on the city.

In this city we are just increasing tourism.
Nicola Ussardi
Venice resident

“It needs to be clarified where all this income will go,” said Venice resident Nicola Ussardi. “They should repair the thousands of abandoned houses in this city. However, that’s unlikely to happen. Instead, residents keep leaving, the city is emptying out, and all we're doing is boosting tourism,” he added.

Under the pilot scheme, visitors arriving at the main train and bus stations will be met by stewards who will remind tourists of the new requirement and help anyone who hasn’t yet downloaded the QR code.

Payment points will be set up for anyone without a smartphone.

Officials have emphasised that the program aims to reduce crowds on peak days, encourage longer visits and improve the quality of life for residents.

But the charge doesn’t apply to anyone staying in Venice, including the mainland districts of Marghera and Mestre.

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