Venice looks to unclog its canals from day trippers

As travel season shifts into high gear, Venice is asking visitors to cough up some extra cash before hopping on any gondolas.

What happened: Venice’s pilot for the first-of-its-kind ticketing system for day trippers began this week. For 29 high-traffic days this year, tourists visiting but not staying overnight must buy a €5 ticket to enter. If they’re caught without one, they’ll face a fine of up to €300. 

  • The historic Italian city saw 20 million visitors last year versus its population of 49,000. This disparity has pressured city infrastructure and hurt residents’ quality of life. 

  • Many residents are skeptical that a small fee will do anything to deter overcrowding. Small waves of protests broke out across the city in response to the measure.

Why it matters: If the system works, cities could soon follow in Venice’s footsteps as popular spots around the world grapple with scourges of overtourism, with locals pinning the blame on visitors for housing scarcity, rising costs of living, and endangering biodiversity. 

In just the past few weeks:

  • Japanese authorities announced they are erecting an eight-foot-high barrier to block the scenic view of Mount Fuji at a popular photo spot in order to curb overcrowding.

  • Amsterdam banned the construction of new hotels and announced a plan to restrict the number of boats that flow through the city’s waterways for river cruises.  

  • Around 50,000 locals of Spain’s Canary Islands protested the development of two new resorts and called on the local government to enact a visitor freeze.  

Big picture: If you’re planning a vacay this year and want to avoid contributing to the overtourism problem, check out Fodor’s annual list of places not to visit.—QH