Venice taxes visitors

Heritage groups want to limit the number of tourists to Venice.  Photo / Jim Eagles
Heritage groups want to limit the number of tourists to Venice. Photo / Jim Eagles

Rising sea levels and more frequent winter storms are threatening the city of Venice. City officials are looking at ways of paying for its survival.

* Visiting tourists will be forced to pay a hotel tax from next month as the Venetians try to earn money to save their city.

* Visitors staying in five-star hotels will have €4.50 ($7.40) added to their bill from August 24, while those staying in less luxurious accommodation will pay according to a sliding scale of fees as the city edges closer to the long-advocated idea of an entrance fee.

* The local council hopes the tax will raise millions of euros for the urgent maintenance of the city, which is slowly sinking into the mud and is threatened by rising sea levels and more frequent winter storms.

* Italia Nostra (Our Italy), a leading heritage group, said this month that the city faced environmental catastrophe and risked "losing its soul" unless the number of visitors was limited.

* The city's population recently dipped beneath 60,000 and it is invaded by the same number of tourists each day.

- NZ Herald

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