World-renowned for it’s canals and gondolas, the north Italian city of Venice has grown increasingly famous for being one of the most over-touristed cities in the world. In an effort to preserve their city, Venice will soon be introducing a booking system for all visitors and a new entry fee of up to €10 ($14.80 AUD) for day-trippers.
Now, this might feel like another hidden sting to take advantage of those of us who are hoping to make it back to Italy, but it might not be as bad as you think. In fact, it might actually be a very good idea.
Why Do We Have To Book To Visit Venice?
Simply, to manage the safety of Venetians and the iconic city they live in.
High tourists numbers has been a problem in Venice for decades now. In 2019, an estimated 30 million people visited Venice, a number far greater than the city’s medieval era infrastructure was ever designed to support. Combined with the efforts of climate change, this high level of foot traffic is slowly causing the city to sink.
While a lack of international travellers for two years gave the lagoon city time to figure out how to stay above water, 160,000 people already visited Venice on Easter Saturday 2022 alone. Faced with a potential crisis, something needed to be done control the impact of tourism.
That’s why from June 2022, Venice’s tourism council will require everyone to register online before they visit their famous city. This way, visitor numbers are able to be capped at 40,000 to 50,000 tourists at a time. An online booking portal will provide visitors with a QR code that can be scanned at electric turnstiles that will soon be erected at Venice’s main access points.
And it’s not just for tourists. Locals from greater Venice will soon also be required to book as well — although their entry fee will be waived.
Will I Always Have To Pay €10 To Visit Venice?
Brilliantly, it might not actually cost you the full €10! The cost to enter Venice will depend on how many people are visiting on that day. On slower days entry could be as little as €3 ($4.40 AUD) with the highest charge (€10/$14.80) reserved only for the busiest of days. Additionally, the fee for day trippers is not expected to start until January 2023.
Most importantly however, the new entry fee is only for day trippers who make up an estimated 73 percent of the city’s visitors. Visitors who stay overnight are exempt from the entry fee as they are already obliged to pay the city tax during their stay.
To sweeten the deal, pre-booking your trip to Venice will also land you incentives, such as discounts on entering museums.
According to Venice’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro “the booking system is the right path to take for a more balanced management of tourism”.
Although travel has a habit of being full of little hidden fees, the Venice visitors fee seems it’s worth the extra cost to anyone suffering from Italophilia.
Italy in the summertime is as gorgeous a place on Earth as you are likely to find. Yet anyone who has been during the summer will tell you the only downside seems to be the flocks of tourists, of which they are also an equally-culpable contributor. By effectively reducing the foot traffic by up to 70 percent, Venice will not only offer visitors and locals a more relaxed experience but ensure their city remains there to visit for years to come.
Shorter wait times, smaller crowds, and locals who aren’t as annoyed by tourists as usual? Sounds pretty good as long as you don’t forget to book!
Lead Image: Kit Suman/unsplash
Benny is a travel, food, and comedy writer from an up and coming seaside town called Sydney.