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The Venice Visitor Tax Is Something Of Which To Be Aware

The Venice visitor tax has been discussed for years and this complete guide will help you plan your next vacation to Italy with confidence and knowledge.

venice visitor tax - Empty Piazza San Marco

Empty Piazza San Marco

For many years Venice has struggled with the difficult balance of tourism revenue and the quality of life for the residents in La Serenissima (The Most Serene).

Is There A Venice Visitor Tax?

As of mid-2023, Venice has not implemented a tourist tax to manage the tourism better in the city, but the plan has been written and it is expected to be implemented in the near future.

Is The Venice Visitor Tax Postponed Until 2023?

2023 Update: The announced plan is described below, but it was announced by the authorities in 2023 that the Venice visitor fee implementation will be delayed to an unspecified date and there have been no announced changes to the plan.

The Complexities of Venice Visitors

Certainly during the tourist season Venice is anything but serene. Over-tourism is an ongoing major problem that they continue to deal with. In the not so distant past, Venice was largely populated by Venetians and the visitors were more interested in art, culture and the unique environment that Venice offers.

Today, Venice’s very tight streets are now crowded with a mass of cruise ship visitors, businesses who cater to them like tacky gift shops and street vendors who far outnumber the residents and overnight visitors who pay for lodging. Prior to the pandemic around 30 million people visited Venice annually. There have been plans for a tourist tax for a while that were planned to be implemented in 2023, once the post-pandemic crowds return.

Disneyland Needs A City Tax

One of the rallying cries used by the residents fighting back against the onslaught of tourists is: Venice Isn’t Disneyland. While there are many causes and competing forces that are to blame for the problems created by the over-tourism, people generally agree that the main issue is the giant cruise ships that enter the lagoon. There is environmental damage caused by these ships, but the city had wanted to provide these tourists with a view from the water that admittedly is remarkable.

Background Of The Venice Visitor Problems

venice visitor tax - Crowded Gondolas In The Canal

Crowded Gondolas In The Canal

In addition to the environmental concerns, and there are many, the other problems these ships cause are due to the types of tourists that disembark and crowd into Piazza San Marco. Basically, these tourists take up a lot of space, but don’t proportionately support the economy by spending their tourist dollars (Euros) in the city.

Imagine a typical tourist from a cruise ship. Their lodging is their stateroom, so it’s already paid for and no B&B or hotel can get paid. Also, many of their meals are also paid for on the ship, so restaurants don’t get to take advantage of their visits either. Even tour guides would be coordinated with the cruise company and would likely only use staff from the boat. The result is an enormous crowd that doesn’t spend much money on land and crowds out others that would like to.

There is also a limit on the number of visitors possible when they need to find a hotel, book tours and eat at restaurants. If all they are doing is disembarking, the only limit would be the docking space available to the ships, and that could be almost limitless.

Destruction by Venice Visitors

Venice Visitor Tax - Gondolas For All

Gondolas For All

One not so obvious impact of the overcrowding by day-tripping tourists in Venice is how they indirectly push out services that are important for normal daily life. If you are packed with visitors that only look to spend money on kitschy gifts, like masks, t-shirts, and imitation glass bowls all made in China, actual artisans, stores important to residents and other services get pushed out.

Venice Travel And Tourists

Tourists in general, not just day-trippers, are leading the decline in daily life in Venice. Buildings and other assets are sold off to take advantage of the tourist dollars. An example is with the ancient Anatomical Theater in the Campo San Giacomo. It was sold and converted into a hotel and residence. In the same Campo, a university building was transformed into a hotel. These are eliminating important cultural gifts that residents could have enjoyed, but their disappearance has added to a decline. In 1960, there were 145k inhabitants. Today they are less than 50k.

Is There A Venice Visitor Tax In 2023?

A reservation system with an entrance fee for Venice has been talked about for a long time prior to the pandemic, but was put on hold in 2020. A complex new online ticket booking system will be launched in the Fall of 2022 with the intention of managing the flood of tourists, as opposed to just making money.

Venice Access Tax Goals

The hope is that this new reservation system can be part of a solution for the over-tourism problem that the lagoon city has been struggling with for decades. Covid made Venetians realize that what was acceptable and common before Covid is no longer acceptable. The new system would let the city know how many people were planned for that day and the needed services to the number. This new system will also let people know that they might want to change their mind if the expectation is that the city will be too crowded.

What Is The Visitor Tax In Venice, Italy In 2023?

The entrance fee will not be fixed, but rather it will fluctuate with the goal of trying to flatten some of the tourist peaks. Think: Surge Pricing and you will understand the rationale. There are a number of exceptions to this fee, but you should expect to pay from €3 to 10€ per day, again, depending on demand. The fee will apply to the Venice historic center and the following islands (and others not listed):

  • Murano
  • Burano
  • Torcello

Guests staying in Venice overnight will not pay the fee because they’ll already be paying a tourist tax through their hotel. The other exemptions to the fee requirement are:

  • Residents and children aged under six
  • Disabled people
  • Homeowners
  • Visitors to the city for health reasons
  • Visitors to the city to visit relatives in jail
  • Those coming to attend a sporting or cultural event.

Don’t Avoid The Venice Visitor Tax!

venice visitor tax - Empty Piazza

Lovely Empty Piazza

In case you are thinking there may be a way to avoid paying the Venice tourist fee, the fines for ticket violations will range from €50 to €300. The plan is that you could be stopped on the streets to make sure that either you paid the fee or you correctly have an exemption. Ten to fifteen “controllers” will be walking around enforcing the new rules. As someone who lives in Italy, I can assure you that it will be enforced and getting caught trying to avoid the cost would likely ruin your experience considerably more that a €10 fee.

Will The Venice Visitor Tax Spread?

Because of over-tourism problems in other European cities, Venice officials expect that they won’t be the last to introduce this type of charge. They believe that many other European cities, like Amsterdam and Barcelona, who also live with a significant number of tourists are watching this program to understand how they can introduce something similar.

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