The Embarrassment of Riches
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Venice’s government will introduce a new entry fee for visitors next year in an effort to address the rising number of tourists and other challenges facing the picturesque Italian city, the New York Times reported.
Starting next spring, day-trippers visiting during peak tourist season will be required to pay a 5 euro fee – about $5.50. Officials said the fee will be applied on the 30 busiest days of the year and visitors will need to obtain a QR code online to enter the city.
They added that the fee – which they describe as a “contribution” – is not intended to cap the number of tourists entering Venice. Instead, they hope it will urge tourists to make reservations ahead of time to ensure a better experience for both visitors and residents.
Currently, officials say Venice’s cultural and environmental heritage is at risk, while the city also faces challenges stemming from climate change, mass tourism, and development projects.
To address these concerns, the city has already implemented a series of measures, such as installing massive floodgates to protect against high tides and banning large cruise ships from navigating its inner canals.
While the fee has been met with mixed reactions, some critics argue that it doesn’t address the issue of overcrowding effectively.
That is an issue other countries are also grappling with.
For example, Athens is experimenting with different strategies to address overcrowding issues at its historical sites, CNN said. One initiative is a new booking system that will enforce hourly slots for tourists visiting the Acropolis. The system seeks to reduce the number of daily visitors from 23,000 to 20,000.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided Thursday not to add Venice to its World Heritage in Danger list due to insufficient progress in addressing threats of climate change and mass tourism, the Associated Press added. Venice officials welcomed the move, but scientists and environmental groups warned that it “signals an alarming trend of nations not being held accountable for protecting some of the most iconic and irreplaceable natural and historic sites around the globe.”