To control the number of tourists who visit the historic district of the city of Venice, Italy, beginning in the spring of the following year, the city will begin testing a new ticketing system that will charge day tourists €5 to enter the district.
On Tuesday, the executive board of the city council gave its approval to the proposal, just a few weeks after the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) proposed that Venice be added to its list of world heritage sites that are in danger, in part owing to the influence of mass tourism.
The Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, stated that while regulating tourist flows during particular times of the year is necessary, this does not mean that the city should be closed. The city of Venice will never close its doors to visitors.
According to the municipal authorities, exemptions would be provided for city residents, commuters, students, children under the age of 14, and visitors who stay in the city for at least one night.
“The objective is to discourage daily tourism in certain periods, in line with the fragility and uniqueness of the city,” it stated. “This is in line with the fact that the city is only one of its kind.”
The concept, which has been discussed for a significant amount of time, will be presented to the full city council for consideration and approval on September 12th. And many of the particulars, such as the number of tickets that will be made available, are not yet known.
On Tuesday, however, the executive committee of the council agreed to conduct a test that will last for thirty days. The trial will most likely take place during the spring and summer of 2024.
The member of municipal council who are responsible for tourism, Simone Venturini, believes that the new system will position Venice as a “trailblazer on the global level.”
He stated that the goal was not to make money off of it, since the suggested price of €5 would merely cover the costs of operating the system, but rather to create a “new balance between the rights of those who live, study, or work in Venice, and those who visit the city.”
St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge are two of the most popular destinations in Venice, which means that the city’s authorities have been working hard for years to find ways to make the city more tourist-friendly.
The ticketing scheme has been repeatedly put on hold out of worry that it will have a significant negative impact on tourists and tourism earnings and put people’s ability to move freely in jeopardy.
The city instituted a ban on large cruise ships two years ago, which resulted in the daily disembarkation of thousands of tourists and their subsequent relocation to a commercial port.
The high waves that are created by the ships are undermining the foundations of Venice and causing harm to the delicate ecosystem of the lagoon. The ban was also intended to reduce the amount of damage caused by these large waves.
However, visitors continue to flock to the city; according to the most recent available statistics, the historic core of Venice saw approximately 3.2 million overnight visitors in 2017.
In 1987, United Nations Educational, Scientific, as well as Cultural Organization (Unesco) included Venice to its list of World Heritage Sites as a “extraordinary architectural masterpiece.” However, Unesco has issued a warning about the need for “more sustainable tourism management.”
On July 31st, it issued a warning that the city faced the possibility of “irreversible” harm owing to a variety of challenges, including the climate crisis and mass tourism.
At the end of this month, a meeting of Unesco’s global heritage committee will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At that meeting, the recommendation that the city be put to its list of world historic sites in risk will be addressed.