Venice to charge €5 to combat overtourism during peak seasons

Visitors will have to pay to enter the city's historic centre from next summer

Unesco may add Venice to its World Heritage in Danger list due to problems caused by overcrowding. Reuters
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Venice is the latest city to announce plans to control overtourism.

After Athens's Acropolis revealed plans to cap visitor numbers this month, the Italian destination – which is currently hosting the Venice International Film Festival – will curb visitor numbers by trialling a ticketing system during peak season next year.

Officials said on Tuesday that those visiting Venice for the day will be charged €5 to enter the city's historic centre, which includes famous sites such as the Rialto Bridge and St Mark's Square.

The city, known for its waterways and gondolas, also attracts crowds during the Venice Carnival, which usually falls in February.

The move to trial the ticketing system comes weeks after Unesco suggested adding Venice to its World Heritage in Danger, which includes Rachid Karami International Fair in Tripoli, Lebanon. The recommendation will be discussed further at a meeting of Unesco's World Heritage Committee in Riyadh later this month.

“Regulating tourist flows in certain periods is necessary, but that does not mean closing the city,” said the city's mayor Luigi Brugnaro. “Venice will always be open to everyone.”

The 30-day trial is likely to be spread out across public holidays and busy weekends in the spring and summer of next year.

Residents, commuters, students and children under the age of 14 will be exempt, as will tourists who stay in the city overnight, the local authority said in a statement.

“The objective is to discourage daily tourism in certain periods, in line with the fragility and uniqueness of the city,” it said.

It is still unclear how many tickets per day will be made available, with the plan gearing up for approval by Venice's wider city council on September 12.

According to data, about 3.2 million people stayed overnight in Venice's historic centre last year.

Unesco put Venice on its heritage list in 1987 as an “extraordinary architectural masterpiece”, but it has warned of the need for “more sustainable tourism management”. On July 31, it warned the city risked “irreversible” damage due to a string of issues ranging from climate change to mass tourism.

Other varied spots on the List of World Heritage in Danger include Abu Mena in Egypt; Hatra and Samarra in Iraq; and the Everglades National Park in the US.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: September 06, 2023, 8:39 AM