Travelers in Venice will have to pay up to € 10 to enter the famous lagoon town, while authorities continue to deal with the tens of millions of tourists they visit every year.
The Italian parliament approved the entrance tax, ranging from € 2,50 to € 10, depending on the time of year, in its budget for 2019, paving the way for it to be implemented by local authorities. A similar system was applied to the island of Elba, part of the Tuscan archipelago, and the Aeolian Islands in Sicily.
Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, said that the money raised would help finance the cleaning of the trash that travelers leave behind.
"The arrival tax is now law," he said. "We will establish a balanced and shared regulation that protects those who live, study and work in the territory."
It is not clear when the tax will be introduced or how it will be applied. Reports in the Italian press suggest that this could be added to the cost of getting to the city by train, bus or cruise ship, with the respective carriers repassing the money to the Venice authorities.
Each visitor will be charged a minimum fee of € 2,50 throughout the year, increasing to between € 5 and € 10 during peak periods. It will not affect those who booked hotel rooms. Visitors to Venice already pay a tourist tax if they spend at least one night in the city.
Brugnaro said the entry fee would allow authorities to better monitor tourist arrivals.
Venice has struggled hard to run a tourism industry that generates about 30 millions of visitors a year, many arriving by cruise ships. Leaders are also under pressure to better manage the situation ahead of 2019's expected July decision on the possibility of putting Venice on its list of endangered heritage sites.
The gates were installed at the two entry points to the pond during this year's peak periods, in an attempt to ease the crowd by heading towards St. Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge.
If the numbers become too high, the gates will be closed and access will only be allowed to those with hotel reservations or with a Venezia Unica pass, a card that is mainly used by residents, but can be purchased by 40 € by anyone who uses it a water bus.
Authorities are also trying to encourage people to visit other lesser-known areas of Venice's lagoon or one of its other islands, such as Murano and Burano.
Source: The Guardian