Reservations for new Venice day-trip entry fee launch this summer

Apr 22, 2022

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Travelers heading to Venice in 2023 can start making their reservations this summer for the recently announced entry fee required for all day-trippers starting next year.

This fee will apply to those dipping in and out of the Floating City just for the day. It’s part of a larger crackdown on overtourism suffered by the ancient canal city, which in addition to sinking under rising sea levels has further sunk beneath the weight of day-tripping tourists.

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In an effort to limit the damage caused by tourism, visitors will have to buy a ticket for every day they spend there or be turned away at the city gates beginning next year.

To ensure you’re able to enter as planned, visitors must reserve daily entry by purchasing an online ticket, which will be available starting in June, ahead of travel.

Earlier this week, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro announced that reservations would launch this summer for visitors intending to visit in January and beyond. Tickets will cost between $3.25 and $10.85 depending on the time of day, and one ticket must be bought per person per day. Overnight visitors do not have to purchase these.

“Tourism starts again in #Venezia A breath of fresh air for operators. Today many have understood that making the City bookable is the right way to take, for a more balanced management of tourism,” the mayor tweeted on April 18. “We will be the first in the world in this difficult experimentation.”

The expected launch of the reservation portal this summer comes after a tourist-filled Easter weekend which CNN reported brought nearly 300,000 tourists to the Catholic city.

The vast daily influx of tourists has driven up the cost of living to the point that many locals are being forced out of their hometown to survive. Five years ago, Venice had 67,000 permanent residents. As of 2022, there are only 50,000 left.

“The aim is to discourage one-day tourism, hit-and-run tourism, arriving in one day and leaving in the same day, tiring and stressing the city, and encouraging slower tourism instead,” Simone Venturini, the city’s deputy mayor for tourism, said previously.

It’s among a raft of measures officials have signed off on in hopes of reducing the 100,000 people who stroll along the city’s winding waterways and storied squares every day.

The ticketing system will be backed by an extra 500 closed-circuit TV cameras installed to keep an eye on the flow of visitors, while police will harness individual mobile phone data to establish the identity of people in real time.

“If I enter the data in the aggregated anonymous form, we can see exactly who these people are: 977 foreigners, 800 Italians, 135 residents and 139 commuters,” Maria Teresa Maniero, deputy commander at the Venice Police, said in January in first announcing the system.

The fee, essentially a tourist tax and a way of limiting entry to the popular city, has been in the works since 2019, when TPG first reported the plan, but activating it has been delayed for various reasons, including the pandemic.

Tourism has become something of a double-edged sword for Venetians of late, where it both keeps livelihoods afloat while simultaneously smothering aspects of its centuries-old way of life.

While overtourism had been held in check by the pandemic, it now threatens to reassert itself as travel restrictions across the world begin to loosen.

Before the pandemic, Venice drew as many as 80,000 tourists each day, approximately 25 million per year. The heavy congestion had gotten so bad, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee considered adding Venice to its list of endangered heritage sites. The decision was abandoned after Italy banned large cruise ships from entering Venice’s waters earlier this month.

Cruise ships have long been criticized by locals and environmentalists for contributing to overcrowding in Venice, as well as polluting its iconic canals.

“We cannot continue to have such huge numbers of tourists,” Brugnaro said in September. “Venice is a small and very delicate city. The number of visitors must be compatible with Venice’s size. If there is no room, you won’t be able to come in.”

Additional reporting by Caroline Tanner.

Featured photo by Seng Chye Teo/Getty Images.

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