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This city will start collecting entry fees from tourists

It is the first city in the world to carry out this experiment.

The city of Venice wants to charge tourists a fee [Shutterstock]

The city authorities explain that their goal is to develop a new system for managing the inflow of tourists and to discourage the so-called one-day tourism in high season. The biggest crowds are caused by those who come only for a few hours of sightseeing.

On many days of the year, even now - even before the season - crowds gather in St. Mark's Square and around the Doge's Palace, at vaporetto stops and in the narrow streets.

The fee will come into force a few days after the inauguration of the Art Biennale, which attracted thousands of people from all over the world.

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"By introducing a system for booking visits to Venice, we want to improve the way we manage the inflow of tourism," Simone Venturini, head of the tourism department in the city government, told PAP.

"The goal," he explained, "is also to create a new balance between the needs of those who want to explore the beauty of the city and those who live or work in Venice."

The city representative then added, "We are aware that this will be a long process because no one in the world has ever implemented an experiment of this kind before. Our approach is humble and practical; we will make adjustments in the coming months if necessary."

"Venice will certainly remain an open city, ready to welcome with open arms those who want to visit it, coming with empathy for its soul, its history and beauty," assured the head of the tourism department.

According to Venturini, it is also a way to best adapt public services and possible security measures in the event of a mass influx of guests.

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The head of the city's department also announced, "Tourists will not encounter any checkpoints or special entrances. Checks will be random and carried out by qualified employees at the main entry points to the city, such as the railway station or the parking lot at Piazzale Roma."

The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, also assured during a meeting with journalists at the Foreign Press Association in Rome, "This operation is not aimed at closing the city. These are not barracks. There will be no limit on the number of people who can come."

"Our system can become a blueprint that other cities around the world can work on, full of the most symbolic and delicate places that should be visited in a polite and respectful way," the mayor said.

"It's not about money," he added, "because our first goal is to defend the city and make it a place to live."

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"We have an obligation to protect the world's great historical centres. Never before in history has anyone tried something like this," admitted Luigi Brugnaro. He also emphasised, "No politician would do what I will do."

There are no discounts on the €5 per person fee. It will not be required for arrival to the Venetian Lido or the islands, including Murano, Burano, Torcello, Sant'Erasmo, Mazzorbo, Mazzorbetto.

The "heart" of the system is a platform in several languages. By visiting this website you will receive a QR code that must be shown in the event of an inspection in the city. It will contain both information about the payment of the fee and its exemption.

An entry fee to the historic centre of Venice will apply to persons over 14 years of age. According to the regulations, tourists who book a place in a hotel or other accommodation structure, as well as people working, studying and studying in Venice, will be exempt. But they also all need to register on the website mentioned above.

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What this will look like in practice in the case of tourists choosing accommodation in the city, the owner of the hotel on Lista di Spagna street, which is crowded with foreigners, explained to PAP, "When you book a place to stay in the city, every person who reserves a place will receive information from us with a link to the website where they should register arrival. Although these tourists do not have to pay the €5 fee, we cannot register them as our guests; they all have to do it themselves.

Announcements about the upcoming date of entry into force of the fee have been broadcast for several weeks on trains arriving at the Venice Santa Lucia railway station on the Grand Canal. Please be advised that the fine for failure to pay the required fee will range from €50 to €300.

Residents of Venice are divided in their assessment of the city authorities' experimental initiative. Some people hope that the state of tourist "siege" in which they live most of the year will decrease.

There are also skeptics. "I think it won't change much and I will still have to fight for a seat on the vaporetto, because most of it is occupied by tourists with large suitcases. I don't count on any miracle of greater peace," said an elderly resident of the Cannaregio district.

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This article was originally published on Onet Travel.

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