Lonely Planet Writer

Tourist tax for Venice?

How would you feel if you were asked to pay to get into a city? This may become a reality as the Italian government has drawn up draft plans to charge tourists an entrance fee into Venice.

Tourists arriving in Venice via plane, train or cruise ship would be charged the fee which, although the amount hasn't yet been discussed, is thought to be as low as one euro.

Venice, like many destinations, has long tried to make money through tourism including its controversial advertising boards aimed at those goggling the Bridge of Sighs, but is tourism tax a step too far?

Opinions are varied. Some say that many of the city's estimated 20 million annual tourists visit just for one day, therefore not providing Venice with enough revenue to keep the city sparkling.

Others believe that charging people to enter will encourage tourists to think of Venice as a theme park rather than a place people live, and that the at times overwhelming number of tourists to the city should bring in enough revenue via expensive cafés and attractions.

There's no doubt that a tourist tax will cause controversy if it goes ahead.

We asked our Twitter followers for their opinions about this, and this is what some of them have said:

@TravelWithAMate: Considering the work needed to secure its future I'd say it's probably a wise move.

@hanisha: Tax? Venice is prohibitively expensive to begin with. Lived in Pisa for over a year, Venice prices were still a shock.

@michellejayne: re Venice fee - perhaps the tourists only stay a day due the ridiculously exorbitant prices in Venice for hotels, cafes etc?

@Tohultd: it's a pretty expensive place already, although 1 euro from every of the 20m visitors...good business revenue!

What do you think? Would charging an entrance fee into Venice be fair? Would you be happy to pay it or would you go elsewhere?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Get in before the tax. Visit Venice with Lonely Planet's all-new Venice Encounter guide!