Controlling Tourism in Venice: The Implications of the €5 Daily Fee

Venice is set to implement a trial of a daily €5 fee for tourists in an effort to regulate tourism and address the issue of over-tourism. The fee will apply to all visitors over the age of 14 and will require them to book their entry to the city in advance. Venice, being one of the most visited European cities, has suffered significantly from excessive tourism. With its small size and the influx of nearly 13 million tourists in 2019 alone, the city is facing irreversible changes due to climate change and mass tourism. The introduction of a daily charge aims to encourage tourists to choose off-peak days and alleviate the strain on the city’s resources.

Unesco has already expressed concerns regarding the impact of climate change and mass tourism on Venice and has recommended including it in the list of world heritage sites in danger. In 2021, large cruise ships were banned from the historic center of Venice after a ship accident, as they were not only causing pollution but also eroding the foundations of the city. However, it remains uncertain if the €5 daily fee will have a significant impact on deterring tourists.

In response to the overwhelming number of tourists, more and more residents are leaving Venice. A significant issue faced by residents is the lack of affordable housing due to landlords choosing to rent accommodations to tourists during peak seasons. Citizen associations have initiated studies to monitor the disparity between beds available for tourists and those available for permanent residents. Recent data reveals that the number of beds for tourists exceeds that for residents, indicating a transformation from a city to a temporary visitor destination.

While the daily fee trial is an effort by the city council to address over-tourism, some critics argue that it may be nothing more than a superficial measure. They believe that limiting rental accommodations for tourists would be a more effective solution. With the number of beds for tourists increasing rapidly, the transformation of government buildings into hotels further exacerbates the situation, turning Venice into a non-city primarily populated by temporary visitors.

The introduction of the €5 daily fee will be closely observed to assess its influence on tourist behavior and its impact on controlling tourism in Venice. The city’s delicate ecosystem, historical significance, and the well-being of its residents heavily rely on finding sustainable solutions to address over-tourism. Ultimately, striking a balance between the economic benefits of tourism and preserving the unique atmosphere and cultural heritage of Venice is crucial for the future of the city.