One of Italy’s top tourism destinations is planning to charge visitors for access, reports say.
According to local daily newspaper La Stampa, Venice, starting in summer 2022, will charge tourists an entry fee and visits to the famous city will need to be reserved in advance.
Additionally, to control the flow of traffic, turnstiles will be installed at the city’s main access points into the historical center, Bloomberg reported.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, overtourism – the congestion or overcrowding due to an excess of tourists – was a hot button issue in Venice, where the streets, at one point, were flooded with day visitors that far outnumbered the overnight guests and local residents.
Venice has long been a posterchild for overtourism as 30 million annual visitors reportedly entered the city of 50,000 residents before COVID hit.
The city began debating measures on how to control traffic flows, a discussion that was shelved once tourism stalled in response to global travel restrictions.
But now, as global tourism slowly and gradually resumes, the topic is back on the table as Venice, and other destinations, discuss ways to improve local conditions for both visitors and residents.
For instance: Italy recently banned large cruise ships from Venice lagoon to protect the site from the throngs of cruise passengers that would fill the area.
The Italian government, however, has decided to allow an alternative, long-awaited route for cruise ships to access the City of the Doges – a move that Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) welcomed.
Francesco Galietti, National Director of CLIA Italy, said CLIA had been “supporting a new approach” for many years.
La Stampa newspaper reported that entry into Venice might cost anything from 3 euros ($3.5) to 10 euros, depending on the time of year and the expected amount of tourists.
Locals, relatives of residents, and tourists who have booked in a Venice hotel will be among those exempt from paying the fee, the newspaper said.