Cruise ship passengers face €10 charge to visit Venice
VENICE is to charge day visitors a tax of up to €10 each in a move approved by the Italian government.
The new measure, which will bring in tens of millions of euro a year in revenue to the World Heritage city, was contained in Italy's 2019 budget, which was passed at the weekend after months of acrimonious wrangling with Brussels.
Venetians have long complained that day-trippers and cruise ship passengers enjoy all that the lagoon city has to offer without making much of an economic contribution.
Of the 24 million tourists who visit Venice each year, 15 million are day-trippers.
Those that bring their own food do not even spend money in bars, restaurants and cafés.
They will now be hit with the charge - likely to be included in the cost of their bus, train or cruise ship ticket and passed on to city authorities.
The tax will range from €2.50 to €10 per person, depending on whether visitors arrive in low or high season.
"This is a historic day," said Venice's mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who said the extra money would be put towards meeting the costs of maintaining and cleaning the city.
Venice's peculiar geography - a network of canals and pedestrian alleyways - means that services such as rubbish disposal are up to 40pc more expensive than in other Italian cities.
In high season, council workers have to empty public bins every half an hour, such is the amount of rubbish generated by the tourist hordes.
Restoring palazzos and churches is also a logistical challenge, involving transporting materials by boat and squeezing cranes and other equipment into tight spaces.
"In this way, we can start addressing Venice's many extra expenses. That will mean a saving for Venetians," said Mr Brugnaro.
The council now has two months to discuss how exactly to implement the new tax.
Claudio Scarpa, head of the Venetian Association of Hoteliers, said: "Finally, day-trippers will start paying their way.
"People who arrive in the morning and leave in the evening, contributing little economically but imposing a heavy strain on services, need to understand that not everything is free.
"This is a victory for the city." (© Daily Telegraph London)