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Venice becomes first city in the world to charge entry fee from the tourists

Last year, around 20 million people visited Venice, with about half staying overnight. This influx far exceeds the resident population of approximately 49,000.

Venice made history on Thursday by becoming the first city in the world to implement a payment system for tourists, aiming to reduce overcrowding during peak holiday seasons.

Starting April 25, a 5 euro ($5.35) entry fee must be paid online by any visitor not staying overnight. This fee applies on throughout the year, including national holidays like April 25.

Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs.

While there are no turnstiles at the city entrances to check for passes, inspectors will conduct random checks and impose fines ranging from 50 to 300 euros on those without valid registration.

“We are not closing the city… we are just trying to make it liveable,” explained Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, emphasizing the city’s commitment to managing tourism.

Last year, around 20 million people visited Venice, with about half staying overnight. This influx far exceeds the resident population of approximately 49,000.

Venice narrowly avoided being placed on UNESCO’s “World Heritage in Danger” list last year by addressing concerns about its delicate ecosystem overwhelmed by mass tourism.

In addition to the entry charge, Venice has banned large cruise ships from entering the lagoon and announced limits on the size of tourist groups.

Simone Venturini, responsible for tourism and social cohesion on the city council, stated, “The phenomenon of mass tourism poses a challenge for all Europe’s tourist cities. But being smaller and more fragile, it is even more impacted by this phenomenon and is therefore taking action earlier than others to try to find solutions.”

The ticketing system is currently in an experimental phase, and Venturini suggested that in the future, Venice might implement variable pricing to discourage arrivals during certain times of the year.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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