(CNN) — With visitors swimming in the canals, sitting down in the middle of the street to eat, and even holding local workers hostage, Venice has become the poster child for tourists behaving badly.
So badly, in fact, and in such quantities, that the city had decided to start charging daytrippers an entry fee, in a bid to stop the “hit-and-run” tourism of up to 30 million people a year.
The fee system was due to be introduced this summer, but was postponed indefinitely thanks to the evisceration of Venice’s economy when visitor numbers plummeted because of the pandemic.
Now, it’s back on.
The city’s authorities have confirmed that the fee for anyone entering Venice without an overnight reservation will be launched on January 1, 2022.
The city — whose economy is largely based on tourism — has suffered hugely during the pandemic, with swathes of shops and restaurants closing. Locals are desperate for visitors to return, although many see this enforced pause as a chance to change tourism for the better.
The “contributo di accesso,” or access fee, will vary according to how busy the city is, in a bid to dissuade people from entering on peak days.
Official figures have not been confirmed for 2022, but for the scheduled implementation in 2020, it was planned to go up to 10 euros per person ($12) on the busiest days.
Visitors staying overnight in the city are exempt, a move to encourage people to spend the night, thereby putting more money into the economy.
Although some residents have protested at the erection of turnstiles separating locals and tourists on busy days, and have compared the ticketing system to turning the city into a theme park, mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who has spearheaded the plans, won re-election in September.
About 70% of Venetian residents have left the city in the past 70 years — largely, it is thought, because of the economy turning toward tourism.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment