Heading to Venice? Make sure you book in advance to access the city’s historic centre, as authorities have announced a new scheme to protect the destination from mass tourism.
After some 400,000 tourists thronged the city during the Easter break, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro announced the launch of the new scheme that will limit the number of visitors ahead of the summer season.
Brugnaro described the shift as “the right way forward” to manage the city’s tourism, Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.
The mayor added Venice would be “the first in the world” to conduct “this difficult experiment.”
In addition to the booking system, day-trippers will have to pay an entry fee of up to 10 euros to access the city centre from 2023 onwards.
Tourists planning on spending the night in Venice will need a prior reservation to enter the canal city.
Municipal authorities have long struggled with balancing Venice’s bustling tourism industry with the fragile nature of the city and its lagoon environment.
The new scheme will aim to account for the number of people in the city centre at all times.
Brugnaro said the scheme will tackle overcrowding and “hit and run” tourism.
Last year the officials also announced that travellers to Venice will soon be tracked using 468 CCTV cameras, optical sensors and a mobile phone-tracing system.
This will allow officials to be able to tell residents from visitors, Italians from foreigners, where people are coming from, where they are heading and how fast they are moving.
Every 15 minutes, authorities get a snapshot of how crowded the city is – alongside how many gondolas are sliding on the Canal Grande, whether boats are speeding and if the waters rise to dangerous levels.
This process is said to combat overcrowding in the city.
Over 100,000 people stayed overnight in Venice, a city of 400,000, on Good Friday. The figure does not include day-trippers or people who booked hotels in nearby towns.