Venice's long talked-about plans to get more money from its millions of day-trippers is a step closer to reality as the Italian parliament approved an entry tax for the city and two other tourist-heavy destinations.
With the approval, local authorities will work out details of the plan, which allows an entry fee starting at €2.50, and rising to between €5 and €10 during peak periods. It won't be charged to those who book hotel stays in the city; they already pay a per-night hotel-based tax.
Venice attracts about 30 million visitors a year, and tourism is the heaviest contributor to the city's economy—and also the chief complaint of many residents who feel overwhelmed by the numbers and by its impact on the city. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has said that the new money would be applied to cleanup, as well as possibly limiting numbers.
It's not yet clear how the tax will be collected. Press reports suggest that the city would like to have it collected for them as a surcharge on train, bus or cruise ship tickets. Since all car arrivals end at large parking facilities at the edge of the city, it could be collected there for those arriving by car.
The parliamentary action also authorized entry taxes for the island of Elba, off the coast of Tuscany and for the Aeolian Islands, near Sicily.
Photo: Traffic jam in Venice, by DrFumblefinger/TravelGumbo