Following scenes of protest, walkouts by certain councillors, and ultimately a lack of quorum, the debate and vote on Venice’s proposed accommodation tax was delayed on Monday evening (June 20). Outside the chambers, people held up banners decrying money being wasted and suggested that not just tourists but also locals will feel more tax burden under the various proposals on the table.
The fallout from these events is that the council reconvened on Thursday, June 23 and that any resolution would mean that an accommodation tax is unlikely to come into force before August 23.
Prior to the council meeting, Mayor Orsoni held conciliatory meetings with the local hotel association, which has expressed its opposition and made clear that it sees managing tourism in the city as a very delicate balancing act. While the proposed tariff system is very similar to Florence’s (one euro, per star, per person, per night), there remains some uncertainty about whether Mestre and minor islands would be charged a lower rate.
“This is an interesting development, even surprising, given that initially this vote was seen as a formality,” said Nick Greenfield, Head of Tour Operator Relations at ETOA, “ETOA has spoken in the past about the need to consult with the travel industry and also to work to a realistic and sensible timetable that respects business cycles. Rome and Florence have caused a lot of bad will by introducing these taxes in a very haphazard, last-minute way. Perhaps, belatedly, Venice will now recognise the need for dialogue and clarity.
“Venice is a unique city, a very popular destination, and tourism is crucial to its economy. The city faces some challenges in terms of infrastructure; the very nature of the place means that it feels pressures that other cities do not. The way to move forward is to involve our industry at every stage to ensure that the future of the city’s most important sector is in safe hands.”