The Italian government has allowed the city of Venice to impose a tourist tax in a move that some critics are calling deeply unfair.
The suggested tax, which could range anywhere from €2.50 to €10, was put forth for Italy's 2019 budget in an attempt to keep the city clean, with the collected funds going towards better waste management systems.
Does Venice want less tourists?
It's no secret that the sinking city is overrun with tourists. While as of 2018, only 260,897 are reportedly permanent residents, Venice is overrun by approximately 20 million visitors each year.
Sadly, most of those visitors just come for the day, and according to The Telegraph, that number is actually closer to 70 per cent, which means hotel beds are vastly empty, and the economy doesn't come anywhere close to reaping the benefits of what those tourist numbers should bring, financially.
It begs the question— who is the tax actually targeting? And will major cruise lines fall flat on selling their Italy cruise product this year, if it means their guests must pay an additional fee to enter the city?
CLIA speaks out
In a statement to PAX, CLIA said:
"CLIA and its members are disappointed that the Italian Government supported the proposal to introduce a local entrance tax for visitors to Venice in its recent budget bill. We will wait to see how the Venice authorities take this forward before responding further.
We recognize that Venice is a unique destination, and the cruise industry is deeply committed to protecting its cultural heritage and safeguarding its sustainability. The city is a treasure, and ensuring its preservation is crucial for all who live and work here, and indeed all of us who love it.
At the core of its history is Venice’s relationship with the sea. Ships have always been part of its identity and the cruise industry represents the modern manifestation of a centuries-old tradition.
Cruise companies have already voluntarily agreed not to send ships bigger than 96,000 tons to Venice steadily reducing the number of cruise passengers visiting the city since 2014."