Venice tourists will have to book their visits to the historic centre of the lagoon city starting this summer, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said after a packed Easter weekend.
Reservations will be compulsory by the end of the summer. Further, from next year visitors will have to pay an entry fee, the mayor told the Corriere del Veneto newspaper Tuesday.
Venice saw some 140,000 people flock into Venice on Easter Sunday, and almost 100,000 more on Easter Monday. “This is the right way forward,” Brugnaro said, “and today many people have realised it”.
Tourism starts again
“Tourism starts again” tweeted the mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro.
After all, numbers like this have almost never been seen in the lagoon : 110,000 people on Friday, 160,000 on Saturday, 140,000 at Easter, almost 100,000 on Monday. Queues to get on the vaporettos, especially for the islands, queues to visit museums , queues to enter the Basilica in San Marco. The hotel was so full that the director of the Venetian hoteliers association Claudio Scarpa went so far as to say that “thanks to this turnover we pay accumulated debts, suppliers and salaries”. But the chaos was such as to lead the local police chief Marco Agostini to speak of “delirium” .
Booking launched for summer
It is no coincidence that on Monday the mayor went so far as to launch the booking from the summer. “Today many have understood that making the city bookable is the right path to take for a more balanced management of tourism. We will be the first in the world in this difficult experimentation”.
In 2022, the booking system is experimental. “We have decided to postpone the” ticket” given the two years of pandemic and suffering for many operators, Councillor for Tourism Simone Venturini underlined. “We will take advantage of the next few months to fine-tune the booking platform”.
Basically, anyone who arrives in Venice will have to book on the special site that will be presented in the coming weeks. Residents of the metropolitan city will be excluded but not the regional Venetians who will continue to be excluded from any contribution. The goal is to know – first – how many people will be present in the historic center.
“A revolution”, says Venturini, “today happens for museums but no city does it. Let’s start on an experimental basis, adjustments and additions will be necessary, we already know this, but it is the only possible way. Even those who contested the mayor’s idea in the city council noticed it.”
Numbers in Venice
The starting point are the numbers that Ca ‘Farsetti knows today thanks to the creation of the smart control room at Tronchetto. Like the Big Brother of Venice, it registers the number of residents at home. Further data from mobile telephone data gave the following figures for Easter weekend.
In these days, for example, the residents who were at home have never been more than 40,000: yesterday at 12 they were 35,990. On Friday night, 101,000 people slept between the Lido and the historic center, of which 6,700 were on the island.
Today the reservation, free of charge, tomorrow (next year) it will be mandatory to pay the access fee for commuting tourists from outside the region. The computer system was created so that residents and tourists who stay overnight in hotels and non-hotel facilities are automatically registered. If not staying on the islands, visitors will have to enter their data on the portal.
However, Venice will not be able to block access, but thanks to incentives (discounts and priority admissions in museums and public transport) on the one hand and disincentives (higher rates) on the other, it will push visitors to plan a visit or simply a presence in the city. There is also the introduction of penalties (which the city council must vote for) for those who bypass the bookings. However, a lot will depend on further legal-administrative checks in progress at Ca ‘Farsetti.