Venice has voted to introduce a 3 euro day-tripper tax designed to support the upkeep of the major tourist destination, in what could trigger a slew of similar taxes in other European hotspots.
The Venice council voted to impose the fee on Wednesday as tourist foot-traffic, waste and use of facilities continues to take its toll on the lagoon city.
Around 25 million tourists visit Venice every year, but an incredible 14 million – often coming from cruise ships – only spend the day there, raising concerns that these tourists were not bringing any income to local businesses or the economy.
This has occurred at the same time as Venice’s local population has dwindled from 175,000 after World War II to about 50,000 today.
The 3 euro (AU$4.78) sum will climb to between 6 and 10 euros (AU$10 – AU$16) from the beginning of 2020, with the heavier fee slugged at visitors arriving in peak periods. Those who refuse to pay the fee will face fines of more than 450 euros (AU$717).
Tourists staying in local hotels already pay visitor taxes and will be exempt, as will children younger than six.
“This is unique in the world, the first time that anyone has dared to do anything this important to help manage a city,” mayor Luigi Brugnaro, said on Wednesday.
While the Venice council hasn’t said how it will collect the money, Brugnaro has suggested transport companies will add the tax to the ticket.
“Other cities across Europe have already called us to ask for information about what we are doing. We are acting as a trailblazer,” he added.
The governor of the region, Luca Zaia also welcomed the decision.
“Venice needs respect, and as is the case with museums, sports stadiums, cinemas, trains and airplanes, it needs to have planned visits… which makes it sustainable both for tourists and the city,” Zaia said on Wednesday.
Venice is far from alone when it comes to tourist taxes. Most popular European cities charge a fee to those staying in accomodation, while Japan has announced a small tourist tax designed to help cover the cost of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Bali has also announced plans to collect a tourist tax, with the funds going towards environmental and cultural preservation efforts.
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