Controversial €5 Venice tourist tax finally approved

A long debated €5 tourist tax was finally approved by Venice’s city council in a bid to counter over-tourism and depopulation.

The decision on Tuesday will see the long-awaited regulation to tax day visitors to visit the city come into force next year.

The new tax will be implemented over 30 non-consecutive days in 2024, falling on the busiest long weekends in the spring and regular weekends in the summer, according to an announcement on the city’s website.

Exact dates will be announced in the coming weeks, it said.

In general, the fee will apply to all day tourists over the age of 14.

Overnight travellers are exempt, although they have been subject to a separate tourist tax implemented in 2011. This tax varies by travel season, accommodation type and location, according to the city’s website — and is usually between €1 and €5 per person per night, for the first five nights of a stay.

The new tax, first suggested in 2019 but delayed due to the pandemic, is an attempt to “protect the city from mass tourism,” Luigi Brugnaro, Venice’s mayor, posted on X/Twitter.

“We will carry out an experiment with great humility and will try not to harm anyone,” he said, according to a translation of the post after the measure was passed by 24 votes to 12 amid a stormy city council debate.

However, opposition councillors voiced doubt on whether the charge will deter visitors as there will be no cap on the number of tourists able to enter the World Heritage city on any given day.

The mayor insisted: “We need to find a system which will protect the city from mass tourism.

“This is an invitation to day trippers not to come here on certain days and if they do come, to make a booking and ay a contribution.”

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