Venice has become even more expensive for tourists, when last week the ‘tourist tax’ came in to force.
When plans emerged from the Venetian authorities last year about the plans to charge tourists a fee for overnight stays, they were met with critisism.
Tourists wanting a relaxing weekend break will now have to pay as much as €5 per person.
The fee is determined by hotel star-ratings, with a couple staying in a 3-star hotel paying an extra €6 on top of the bill.
Luxury travellers staying at one of the city’s gilded five-star options – such as the celebrated Hotel Cipriani – will have to pay the full €5 each.
Defending the ‘tourist tax’ Venice has suggested it is a cultural donation rather than a government levy interested in squeezing a little more from its tourist economy that sees 60,000 people visit every day.
Imposed to protect the city, the imposta di soggiorno, is said to be needed to protect the heritage of Venice which was once at the centre of the European empire.
‘This tax is a new and important opportunity for the city,’ Venice’s deputy mayor Sandro Simionato recently said. ‘The fundamental objective, which will also involve tourists who visit and love Venice, is to save this unique city, which is precious and fragile.’
A brochure outlines the reasons behind the new tax.
‘You will become one of the city’s sponsors, contributing to safeguarding it,’ the brochure explains.
It is illustrate with a sticker that states: ‘Thank you for being a sponsor of the splendour of Venice.’
Mr Simionato’s also stated:
‘The tax will help finance tourism, maintenance of cultural heritage sites, the environment, as well as public services’.
This may not please the tourists that will now be sponsoring domestic funding for the city.
Local authorities will be allowed, through government rules, the spend revenue on public services – tourists could end up paying for matters that should be covered by Italian tax euros.