Italy’s budget for 2019 has a clause enabling Venice to impose the fee, which will especially target day-trippers arriving on cruise ships.
Tourists already pay a similar “landing tax” when they visit Italy’s tiny Aeolian Islands. Now Venice has won approval to introduce an entry fee of up to €10 (£9; $11.50) for short-stay tourists.
Hundreds of cruise ships moor in Venice every year, allowing over a million passengers to see the city’s sights.
Venetians have long complained that mass tourism is swamping the city, adored for its picturesque canals. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the “landing tax” would generate much-needed income to keep the city clean.
It will apply only to tourists, but it is not clear whether it will replace a city tax already levied on hotel occupants. That tax brings in about €30 million annually, but the “landing tax” could generate more – an estimated €50 million per year.
Cruise passengers are easily identified, Italian officials say, but it may prove harder to tax day-trippers arriving by air, road or rail.
Local residents, workers and students will be exempt. For years there have been protests by Venetians who say mass tourism is spoiling the city’s character.
Claudio Scarpa, head of the Venice hotel managers’ association Ava, said “the principle is that whoever visits from morning to evening, contributing just a tiny amount to the revenue from tourism.
On the other hand the tourism industry is imposing costs on the infrastructural services, and we must learn to understand that it’s not all there for free”.
BBC / ABC Flash Point Tourist News 2018.