Ex-Mayor tells tourists not to pay Venice day-trip tax launched today

By Lisa James
Home » Ex-Mayor tells tourists not to pay Venice day-trip tax launched today

Venice’s €5 charge for day visitors finally comes into force today.

However, not everyone is happy about the tax. A local social rights group, Arci, is planning to demonstrate by handing out ‘symbolic passports’ to tourists, while former Mayor Massimo Cacciari said visitors shouldn’t pay.

The entrance fee will apply on 29 peak days, mostly weekends, from today until 14 July, for day visitors aged over 14. Tickets can be bought online, or on arrival. People without a ticket could be fined between €50 and €300. The fee applies to visitors to the Old City, but not the islands.

Venice is the first major city in the world to implement such a scheme. Venice City Council said 5,500 people had booked a ticket for today (25 April), generating €27,500 in income, although authorities insist the tax is not about making money.

The fee has been implemented in response to overtourism, but residents’ activist group Venessia.com claims most of the city is against the tax. Its leader, Matteo Secchi, told the Guardian: “You can’t impose an entrance fee to a city; all they’re doing is transforming it into a theme park.”

Federica Toninello, from housing association ASC, told the newspaper: “For a start, €5 will do nothing to deter people. But day trippers aren’t the issue; things like the shortage of affordable housing are… What we need are policies to help residents, for example, making rules to limit things like Airbnb.”

Former Mayor Cacciari, who held the post from 1993 until 2000 and 2005 to 2010, said tourists already pay over the odds for restaurants and public transport and called the tax ‘absurd’, adding tourists should refuse to pay.

He told the Adnkronos news agency he would ‘love to see’ city authorities ‘justify in a court the legitimacy of imposing a tax on entering the city’.

He added: “What are they going to do, block people’s movement, send out the police to ask to see everyone’s papers?”

The Mail reports Simone Venturini, the Councillor in charge of tourism, said: “We want to discourage day-trippers from visiting Venice during these 29 designated days.

“Fewer day trippers does not mean less revenue because overnight tourists are more important to the economy of the city. “We will see the results in the medium to long-term and in the meantime we will assess how it goes.”

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