A cure for overtourism or a revenue-generating exercise? Venice has finally introduced its tourist tax on people who don’t pay for an overnight stay. Jenny Southan reports

Following the announcement of new tourist rules for Venice launching this year, the platform for day-trippers to pay the €5 fee to enter the city launched this month, allowing outsiders to make their payment before visiting the city. (The fee does not apply to people who stay overnight in Venice.)

According to The Guardian, about 3.2 million people stayed overnight in Venice’s historic centre in 2022, but about 30 million people visit each year, with a majority of the city’s tourists coming for just the day.

Long mooted, the authorities in Venice are finally officially enforcing the entry fee, also known as the “Venice Access Fee“, for day visitors during 29 designated dates in the year. The initiative aims to “strike a balance between preserving the daily life of Venice residents and providing an exceptional experience for visitors”, it was said in a statement.

The Access Fee apparently seeks to “discourage daily tourism during peak periods” but Globetrender thinks a €5 fee will not prohibit anyone and wonders how exactly it will “ensure sustainability for both residents and tourists”.

Overnight guests need to register and obtain the appropriate exemption voucher…

What’s more, given the complexity of even buying a vaporetto (water bus) ticket or finding information on what time they depart, it begs the question how this tax will be implemented and what happens when people don’t pay it.

Once you have paid your €5 online, the system issues a QR code upon payment. Globetrender has been informed that checks and inspections for these QR codes will happen at the main access points in the city, “streamlining the experience for visitors while contributing to the responsible management of Venice’s unique charm”, read a media statement.

The fee is applicable on specific days between April 25 and May 5, and on weekends in May, June and July, from 8.30am to 4pm, excluding access to the islands. It’s only applicable to the historical parts of the city.

Minors under the age of 14 are excluded from the payment of the access fee: to prove their age, if it is not apparent, the presentation of an identity document is accepted as sufficient proof.

There are lots of exemptions to the fee (such as for relatives of locals, school trips or workers), including people staying overnight in hotels and B&Bs.

Do overnight guests need to apply online for an exemption? Globetrender has been told that: “No, they do not need to apply for an exemption online. In the event of inspection, tourists who are staying overnight in the city need proof of booking in the municipal territory for at least one night to be exempt from payment.”

What happens if you forget to pay the tourist tax?

Globetrender has been informed that fines will be issued. These will be from €50 to €300.

Residents of the Municipality of Venice and individuals born in the Municipality of Venice are excluded from paying the access fee.

In December it was announced that groups of over 25 people would be banned from entering the old city.