Venice Italy Approves New Tourist Tax

Venice Italy Approves New Tourist Tax

Venice Italy Canal

Visitors to Venice, Italy who plan to stay overnight will now be taxed for the privilege.  Overnight visitors will have as much as 10 extra Euros added to their hotel bills. At 5€ (about $7.25 in 2011) a night the new visitor tax is expected to add an additional 8 million Euros in revenue in 2011 coffers of Venice.

The tax is levied based on the type of accommodation with visitors staying in luxury hotels paying more than those staying in smaller inexpensive hotels or at the least luxurious place of all, the campgrounds on the mainland.  The maximum right now is 5€ and it only applies for the first 5 days of your visit.  In other words, under the star rating system the more stars your hotel has the more you will pay unless you stay in a hostel which so far has avoided the tax.  You will also pay less on the other islands in the Venice lagoon or if you stay on the mainland.  The tax is less if you visit in the low season which runs from November 1 through the end of March.

Trying to put a positive spin on their tax the city of Venice has published a colorful brochure in nine languages, congratulating tourists on becoming “one of the city’s sponsors, contributing to safeguarding it”.

The revenue generated from the new tax “will help the city improve the quality of the tourist services” and go towards “salvaging the city’s cultural and architectural heritage”.  Local officials also have the right to use the tourist tax to support services, which raises questions about whether at least a portion of the funds will go to alleviate Italy’s large public deficit.

Rome was the first city to institute the “Contributo di Soggiorno” tax.  Since the tax applies only to tourists and not voting residents the tax is popular with local elected officials.

The new fees don’t apply to the majority of tourists who visit Venice since an estimated 70% to 80% of visitors to the city only come for the day but stay somewhere else.

Venice, like much of Italy is in desperate need of funds so I don’t mind the tax.  I do question the wisdom of only taxing overnight tourists who are already staying in the city and spending more money at restaurants, stores and tourist attractions than day visitors.  I think there should be a separate fee for visitors who only come to the city for the day.  Anyone who has visited Venice for more than a few days has seen what happens when a large cruise liner docks and thousands of people suddenly descend upon Piazza San Marco.

I wonder what Comissario Brunetti thinks about this!

Let us know what you think.  Is the tourist tax a good idea or not and who should have to pay?

Click here for Lonely Planet Venice & The Veneto (City Travel Guide)

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