Venice to Use New Booking System to Control Crowds

According to officials, Venice has plans to trial a reservation system for day-trippers in an attempt to ease overtourism as visitors come back to the city following the pandemic.

The “pay-to-visit” program will not limit tourist numbers but aims to coax some tourists to visit during the less busy season by offering lower rates.

“We will start with an experimental phase during which the reservation will not be mandatory, but optional” and will cost nothing, says Venice’s deputy tourism councilor Simone Venturini.

Day-tripping tourists will be encouraged to sign up through incentives “such as discounts on museum admissions”, he said. There is no start date as of now.

This program has been in the works for years but had been put on hold with the pandemic. It will most likely be compulsory in 2023. Prices are predicted to be between three to ten euros per visitor, paid on a sliding scale depending on crowd predictions.

Tourists who stay the night in Venice, and are already subject to the so-called tourist tax, will be exempt from the day-trip fee.

Venice is back to its usual bustling alleyways and canals with Easter weekend drawing a huge number of tourists with 40,000 day-trippers and 100,000 overnighters.

The crowds, while great for business owners, cause long lines for public transportation, museums, and historic sites, also making life difficult for locals.

When the reservation system becomes compulsory, the controls will be run from the bus and train stations, the two main entrances to the city.

Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro said it was “the right road to take, for a more balanced management of tourism. We will be the first in the world to carry out this difficult experiment.”

Learn more about Venice here.

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