Lonely Planet Writer

Venice delays plan to start charging entry fees

Venice has delayed a plan to start charging entry fees for visitors to the city.

Venice delays visitor charge
Gondolas on the Gran Canal in Venice. Photo by: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

Lonely Planet Travel News reported earlier this year that the beautiful but overcrowded Italian city was planning to start charging day-trippers a ‘landing fee’ of between €2.50-€10.

The charge was aimed particularly at cruise ship passengers, who are said to cause huge crowds in the historic city without contributing to the local economy. It was initially expected to be rolled out this September but has now been put back until 1 January next year. The delay is because tourism operators have argued that they cannot consistently impose the new tariff by the September deadline.The fee is expected to be set at between €2.50 and €5 per person, but could rise to €10 at peak times in the summer.

The charge was originally thought to apply to all visitors to Venice, but mayor Luigi Brugnaro has since told local media that only day trippers will be affected. Venice sees huge numbers of day visitors in summer months, particularly cruise ship passengers, who manage to avoid the existing city tax levied by accommodation providers.

Vessels in Venice harbour
Venice shelves cruise ship entry charge. Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Around 600 cruise ships dock in Venice each year and have been accused of damaging infrastructure and ruining quality of life in the city. The new tax is estimated to bring in €50 million a year, which Brugnaro says will help preserve the city’s fragile environment.

Unesco has long been threatening to blacklist Venice amid fears that the city has not been doing enough to protect its heritage. Brugnaroi has allegedly even begged Unesco himself to blacklist the city, in response to frustration at the Italian government’s refusal to back a plan agreed with the previous administration to divert big cruise ships away from the city centre.

Other previous plans to reduce overcrowding in Venice include considering a ban on new hotels and even implementing turnstiles at Piazzale Roma at one point in 2018.