Tourist hotspot Venice will introduce a booking system and an entry fee for daytrippers from this summer.
Come June, visitors to Venice will need to book their visit and pay a charge ranging from €3 to €10 ($3 and $11) depending on the season.
The ticket system, which will be trialed for a period of six months, is the latest move by authorities grappling with the unsustainable levels of visitors to the city.
In recent weeks, visitor numbers have shot back up to pre-pandemic levels. Over the Easter weekend, some 125,000 daytrippers visited the historic center.
After a six-month trial from June, the booking system may be introduced permanently in 2023.
Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, wrote on Twitter, “We will be the first in the world to conduct this difficult experiment.”
While he described the influx of tourists as a “breath of fresh air for the tourism sector,” he acknowledged that the booking system would ensure “a more balanced management of tourism.”
Introducing an entry fee system has been in the pipeline for several years as Venice has battled mass tourism. However, after being approved in 2018, the booking system was pushed back amid the coronavirus
Now, with just 50,000 residents, the canal city is feeling the pressure from the thousands of daytrippers that have returned to the historic center.
This summer, those wishing to visit the city for the day will need to book in advance and pay for their entry ticket.
“The experimental phase begins in June when day tourists will be invited to book through a website that is being set up by the council,” Simone Venturini, Venice’s tourism councilor, told local press.
“Those who book will receive incentives, such as discounts for entering museums. To determine the access fee, we will set a maximum threshold of 40,000 or 50,000 visitors a day.”
Visitors who choose to stay the night will be exempt from the fee as they are already subject to a tourist tax.
With the Venice Biennale art exhibition kicking off this weekend, the city is preparing for another few days of packed streets and overwhelmed transport services.