ON APRIL 25, 2024, Venice, Italy introduced an entrance fee for tourists coming to this city of canals. This entrance fee was tested for 29 days in May, June and July, including weekends and national holidays.

The move was made to reduce the number of visitors who only stay for one day. The hope is that tourists who stay overnight will bring greater economic benefits to the city.

However, this decision has sparked protests from local residents and confusion from tourists. One of the main misconceptions is that even if visitors have booked accommodation in Venice and are exempt from the tax, they still have to register their presence on the booking platform.

In addition, some visitors found the site difficult to navigate and time consuming. In the first 11 days of the tax’s implementation, Venice managed to sell 195,000 tickets for a total of 977,430 euros (approximately IDR16 million).

This amount exceeded expectations, but was still less than the cost of setting up the online booking system, information campaigns and ticket checks. Nevertheless, the pilot project did not lead to a decrease in tourist numbers. A member of Venice’s city council called the policy a failure.

“The ticket policy in Venice has failed miserably, because the figures are calculated and they say that it does not in any way reduce the flow of tourists or hinder arrivals,” said Giovanni Andrea Martini, a member of the All the City Together party.

In fact, he continued, the number of tourist arrivals was higher than in previous years. Critics also point out that requiring students and commuters to obtain QR codes (even if they do not have to pay) is impractical. 

Meanwhile the former mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari, called the fee unreasonable and urged tourists not to pay, saying it was against freedom of movement.

“Given the various pros and cons regarding Venice’s entrance fees, it is still unclear whether this measure will be effective in controlling visitor numbers and addressing the problems facing the city,” he concluded. [sources/photo special]