From May, millions of day trippers to Italy's ancient, lagoon city will have to pay an entry fee. The price is set to double in 2020 and be used to keep the ancient islands clean.
There are 25 million visitors to the city of Venice in northern Italy each year. Of these about 14 million stay just for a day, and often bring their own picnics.
With no visible benefit for local restaurants and bars, and costs of cleaning up after the visitors growing every year, councilors have decided to put a price on entry.
From May, visitors will pay an entry fee of €3 (about $3.50) for this year, and a planned €6 in 2020. Plans also include a variable fee depending on the number of visitors in the city at the time, on a range of €3 to €10 for entry.
"This is unique in the world, the first time that anyone has dared to do anything this important to help manage a city," said Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro after the council decision late on Tuesday.
The fee will probably be collected by transport companies bringing the visitors in by bus or rail.
There are a series of more than 20 exemptions including:
This year will be an experimental one for the new charge, with fines in the region of €450 for non-payment.
"Venice needs respect, and as is the case with museums, sports stadiums, cinemas, trains and airplanes, it needs to have planned visits... which makes it sustainable both for tourists and the city," Veneto governor Luca Zaia said Wednesday.
jm/cmk (Reuters, AP)