Overtourism: 5 euros to enter Venice and its residents protest – 04/25/2024 at 12:28

Tourists line up in front of Santa Lucia station to buy entry tickets for April 25, 2024 in Venice (AFP / MARCO BERTORELLO)

The city of Venice launched a €5 entry ticket for day tourists on Thursday morning, in a move aimed at stopping overtourism, but sparking protests from a number of residents who refuse to see their city become a “museum”.

For the first time in the world, the city, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sold about 13,000 tickets, according to what the city’s municipality told AFP at the end of the morning, explaining that this number is “constantly evolving,” especially since no maximum number has been set. of available tickets.

These bills, which are present in the form of QR Codes on the ligne or on the place, are present in the post control notifications on the street, in the main area of ​​the City of Dogs, or the situation is fluid this week, around the world. In Italy.

By forcing day-trippers to pay five euros to wander along its famous canals, Venice hopes to discourage some of them from coming on busy days.

“I think it's a good thing because maybe it will slow down the number of tourists in Venice,” Sylvain Pellerin, a French tourist who has been coming there regularly for 50 years, told AFP, proudly displaying his ticket.

In front of Santa Lucia Station, the main entry point into the city, a ticket office has been set up from scratch to help tourists who don't have this new access.

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– “an experience” –

Tourists on the Rialto Bridge in Venice, April 24, 2024 (AFP / MARCO BERTORELLO)

Thus, Venice becomes the first tourist city in the world to impose entrance fees such as amusement parks, while anti-overtourism movements are multiplying, especially in Spain, prompting the authorities to move in order to reconcile the good population with a very important economic sector.

For Tourism Deputy Simone Venturini, it is “above all about discouraging local tourism for residents of the Veneto region who can visit Venice whenever they want.”

The city's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro himself, admitted at the beginning of April that “this is an experiment”, which will undoubtedly be closely followed by other major tourist cities around the world.

Its city, one of the most visited in the world, has already banned giant cruise ships from reaching its historic centre, where flocks of passengers will also have to present their credentials.

At the peak of attendance, 100,000 tourists sleep in Venice, in addition to tens of thousands of visitors daily. Compare that to about 50,000 residents in the city centre, which continues to be depopulated.

However, at this point, the experiment remains very limited in scope: for 2024, only 29 busy days will be affected by this new tax, which will apply almost every weekend from May to July.

– Many exceptions –

This tax also targets tourists who enter the Old City daily only between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM local time. They can download their QR code on the dedicated website (https://cda.ve.it/fr/), available in English, Spanish, French and German, as well as Italian.

Tourists in St. Mark's Square in Venice, April 24, 2024 (AFP / MARCO BERTORELLO)

A fine of between 50 and 300 euros will be imposed to punish tourists who try to slip through the cracks, even if local authorities say they want to prefer persuasion over repression.

Tourists who sleep at least one night on site are exempt and receive a free QR code for their accommodation. Many other exemptions are planned: Students under 14 years of age… On Thursday, about 90,000 people took advantage of this until midday, according to the city council.

But this new measure is not unanimous among Venetians, as some see it as an attack on freedom of movement and another step towards turning their city into a museum.

“We are not a museum or a nature reserve, but a city, we should not pay money” to access it, protests Marina Dodino, a fifty-year-old retiree and member of the local residents' association ARCI Venezia.

At the end of the morning, a demonstration was held not far from the station. It included, in a good atmosphere, about 300 people who walked behind a large banner that read, “No to tickets! Yes to housing and services for all.”

This ticket is “the apotheosis of the inspiring city of Venice (…) We are in a city where Airbnbs monopolize all accommodation, where the mayor can regulate tourist rentals but does not,” 32-year-old Federica Toninello told AFP. A spokesman for a local association.

She concludes: “If we want to solve the tourism problem, we have to start with the housing problem.”

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