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Venice launches a $5 entrance fee for day trippers



Venice launched a $5 fee for day trippers on Thursday, sparking protests in the city. File photo by Andrea Merola/EPA-EFE

April 25 (UPI) — Visitors wanting to take a day trip to Venice will have to pay a fee to enter the iconic city from Thursday, as part of a plan to tackle overtourism.

The historic Italian UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its canal through the city, will charge day trippers $5.35 during a trial period of 29 peak days through July 14.

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Those booking stays of one night or longer are exempt, as are residents, workers and people studying in the city.

Visitors can register for a pass online and receive a QR code that can be displayed on their smartphone, while visitors under 14 do not have to pay but also receive a code.

Physical tickets can also be purchased at Santa Lucia Train Station.

There are no limits to the number of people who can register per day. Venice’s city council said 5,500 people had purchased passes for the first day of the day on Thursday, an Italian national holiday, totaling more than $29,000.

There are no fixed stations set up at the city’s entrances to check for passes, but random checks will be carried out and visitors without passes could be fined up to $320.

“We have no intention of raising money, taxing people or introducing a police state,” Venice tourism chief Simone Venturini told NBC News. “We deal with it democratically, but the important message is: ‘If you are a day tripper, choose another day.'”

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the measure is a small step to help save the city, where fragile lagoon infrastructure is causing pressure from more than 40,000 tourists every day. That pressure is now starting to drive out the needed residents.

However, some have argued that the fee is at best ineffective and at worst unconstitutional.

“I can tell you that almost the entire city is against it,” Matteo Secchi, head of residents’ activist group Venessia.com, told The Guardian. “You can’t impose an entrance fee on a city, all they do is turn it into a theme park. This is a bad image for Venice… I mean, are we kidding?”

Protesters held signs opposing the measure, with some saying: “No to tickets, Yes to homes and services for all” as some tried to break a police blockade and enter the city.