Campaigners the council has made the city “a slave of mass tourism” and the three euro charge is simply another way of making money. “Venice deserves quite another vision, a different future, and not this,” said a spokesman for the civic group Gruppo 25 aprile which is to hold public demonstrations. “Venice is NOT an open-air museum where you enter by paying a ticket or subjecting yourself to checks to prove you are exempt from payment. A museum is a place that closes at a certain time and as residents we do not want to be asked what time it closes.”
Opponents of the new tax also claim it will be impossible for residents to prove they live in Venice each time they leave and return and they envisage horrendous daily queues.
They are also objecting to the installation of gates or turnstiles at key locations.
One said: ”Tourists are not cows to be milked.”
The city council approved the new charge by 22 votes to five on Tuesday.
The order will now be officially advertised and will come into force 15 days later. This is expected to be May 1st.
Tourists coming to Venice will have to pay the three euros which takes them up to midnight. Those staying in hotels are exempt as they will pay the tourist tax instead.
According to the council, the regulation aims to “select the flows and reformulate the financial impact of tourism to protect the public interests of the local community.”
There will be various exemptions, including residents of the municipality of Venice, workers (employees or self-employed), including commuters, who continuously or even temporarily in the city, children under six, the disabled and their helpers and students.
The three euro access charge will operate until December 31, 2019 and will go up in 2020 to a maximum of ten euros.
The basic fee will be six euros, increasing to eight euros on days of heavy traffic and ten euros on the busiest days.
The system will be controlled through red, green a black stamps, according to the number of people. Anyone flouting the new rule faces a fine of between 100 euros and 450 euros.
Calling the rate “an important turning point in the management of tourist flows in Venice,” the Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said money was needed to manage waste, repair infrastructure and maintain visitor flows to popular destinations.
Supporters of the tax say the number of “hit and run” tourists who visit the city during the day is increasing dramatically, especially in the summer.
“They do not buy in shops, do not visit museums, often don’t eat a meal in the city but contributes to increasing the work of maintenance and cleaning of the historic centre,” said one.
Another said: ”It’s a measure to make life more liveable for residents.”
The proposal goes one step further for the year 2022 when it is planned to introduce a system of prior reservations for day visitors.
“Anyone who plans to come for the day will notify us, which will help anticipate the demand and establish the daily rate,” said Brugnaro, adding that “no one will be denied access, but it will be more complicated for those who do not book. “
The same booking system has already been introduced by the tiny Canary island of Los Lobos which is looked after by Fuerteventura.
Tourists have to book up three days in advance and there is a limit of 200 people at any one time, twice a day.
Fuerteventura says it has to take action over the protected island spanning just five kilometres because it had become saturated with as many as 2,000 visitors some weekends.
Gruppo 25 aprile says: “We did not ask for this tax and we do not consider it the right way to tackle a problem that is the city’s load capacity.”