Starting this summer an online registration system for Venice will be implemented
Venice is one of the top destinations in Italy—and in Europe— and new rules are about to change the way tourists get to visit this iconic “floating city” within the next few weeks.
Local authorities announced on Wednesday the implementation of a new booking system for travelers. Those who want to visit for the day will have to pay a fee—the price will range between three and ten euros, a similar price in USD at the moment— in order to explore this fascinating city.
The system isn’t new, the government has been developing the technology for years and the reservations system has been previously explained as well, only this time an official test will begin in June this year.
Simone Venturini, Venice’s deputy tourism councilor, told the AFP agency that a trial of the new system will begin within the next few weeks: “We will start with an experimental phase in which the reservation will not be mandatory, but optional”. Travelers will be encouraged with discounts and promotions.
However, in the near future, Travelers will have to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to guarantee their entrance. Venturini also told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that there will be a daily limit: “To determine the access fee, we will set a maximum threshold of 40,000 or 50,000 visitors a day.”
A few days ago, during Easter weekend, around 125,000 tourists visited the “slowly sinking city”, reaching pre-pandemic levels, and this might be one of the reasons why local authorities decided to initiate the registration strategy as soon as possible. There are just 50,000 residents in Venice, and tourists’ large presence has become notorious.
Brugnaro also shared the news on Twitter on April 18 and added: “Tourism in Venice starts again. A breath of fresh air for operators. Today many have understood that making the City bookable is the right way to more balanced management of tourism. We will be the first in the world to conduct this difficult experiment.”
If the experiment is as successful as local authorities hope, it will become permanent in January 2023.
Tourism Controversy in Venice
One of the decisive factors to charge visitors a fee is the fact that many tourists stay just for a few hours and don’t spend much in local shops and hotels. Residents are bothered by the waves of tourists that arrive every season and do not contribute to the local economy.
The Head of UK & Ireland at the Italian National Tourist Board, Flavio Zappacosta, explained that cruises have an important impact: “The charge is new for all cruise and day visitors and has been implemented as part of a wider recovery strategy to manage overcrowding and protect the city’s cultural experiences by providing an all-round better experience for tourists.”
Due to an incident in the past, since August 2021, cruises larger than 25,000 gross tonnes and 180 meters are banned to enter Venice’s canals, but are still allowed to disembark at the city’s industrial port.
Local Italian citizens and journals have been calling “ghost tourists” (turisti fantasma) those visitors who don’t spend the night in local hotels. The police in Venice use a technology called “Smart Control Room” that can recognize cell phones and tell if tourists stay for the night.
Authorities allegate that new measures are implemented to protect this unique city— Venice has been classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco— as well as previous peculiar rules. Travelers must know that it is forbidden to eat or drink on Piazza San Marco and also to feed pigeons. The war against pigeons and seagulls —who became a plague and damaged architectural structures— recently came to weapons: tourists were handed water pistols to scare birds.
Venice is a unique destination on many travelers’ bucket lists, but they must stay up to date with local restrictions—related to tourism— and not just Italy’s Covid restrictions.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories