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Evasion, confusion and protests: How effective is Venice’s new tourist tax?

Some news sites have run articles explaining ways in which visitors can avoid paying the new fee.
Some news sites have run articles explaining ways in which visitors can avoid paying the new fee. Copyright Sterlinglanier Lanier
Copyright Sterlinglanier Lanier
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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Some news websites have run articles explaining how visitors can avoid paying the new fee.


On 25 April, Venice launched an entry fee for daytrippers to the canal city. The trial period for this charge covers 29 days in May, June and July - including weekends and public holidays.

The measure was introduced to curb the number of visitors who only stay for a day. Those behind the fee say they bring less economic benefit to the city than overnight tourists and cause problems like overcrowding.

However, many Venice residents have criticised the entry ticket as ineffective in controlling visitor numbers while condemning the city council for overlooking critical issues such as housing.

Here’s what effect the fee has had one month since its introduction.

Venice entry fee launches amid protests and confusion

The launch of the fee on 25 April was met with protests from residents and confusion from tourists.

One key misunderstanding was that although visitors who have booked overnight accommodation in Venice are exempt from the daytripper fee, they still have to register their presence on the booking platform.

Other visitors found the website difficult to navigate and buying a ticket a lengthy process.

Stewards were on hand to check if tourists had downloaded their QR code and guide them through the procedure if not.

Residents were also out in force, protesting against the fee which they say will not have a meaningful effect on reducing visitor numbers and avoids addressing more fundamental issues like the housing crisis.

Critics also say the need for students and commuters to obtain a QR code (even though they are not required to pay) is impractical.

Ex-mayor of Venice Massimo Cacciari has called the fee “absurd” and told tourists not to pay saying it goes against freedom of movement.

Venice earns €1 million in first 11 days of tourist tax

The entry fee is currently set at €5 and applies to day visitors with exceptions including residents of the Veneto region, students and children under 14 years old.

Over the first 11 days that the visitor fee was in force - from 25 April to 5 May - the city sold 195,000 tickets raising a total of €977,430.

The sum greatly exceeded expectations but is still less than the cost of setting up the online booking system, informational campaigns and ticket checks - €3 million according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

After the trial period, the fee may be increased to €10 per day. There are also fines of up to €300 for those who try to visit without a ticket.


Venice entry fee has not reduced tourist numbers

So far, the pilot project has not resulted in a reduction in tourist numbers. One city councillor for Venice has called the measure a failure. 

"The entry ticket measure in Venice has failed miserably because the numbers count and they say that the ticket has in no way lowered the flow of tourists or staggered the arrivals, but instead the arrivals are numerically superior with respect to previous years," said Giovanni Andrea Martini of the city council group All The City Together at a press conference this week.

On 19 May 2024, there were 70,000 entries while last year on 2 June, a national holiday in Italy, only 65,000 were registered.  

"Today the city is closed due to the political will of an administration who with this measure has brought in some money but has not saved the soul of the city," Martini added.


"Venice is rundown because it has been abandoned, or rather merely used to bring in cash."

How to avoid paying Venice’s new entry fee

Some news sites have run articles explaining ways in which visitors can avoid paying the new fee.

UK newspaper The Guardian notes that supporters of Venice’s football team can attend matches in the city without having to cough up the €5.

Residents opposed to the entry ticket have highlighted another way to get around the fee.


Visitors invited to Venice by city residents who supply them with a code are exempt from the charge.

Some activists have reportedly set up an unofficial website to facilitate the sharing of friend codes to daytrippers.

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