Italy’s tourism minister has labelled plans to introduce a new visitor tax in Venice as “useless and damaging”.
Gian Marco Centinaio took to Twitter to criticise the tax after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro announced it would be implemented from 1 May.
“Do we want to become a tourist-repelling country?” Centinaio Tweeted.
The new tax, which is expected to be added to train, cruise ship, bus or plane tickets, will charge each tourist a standard €3 (AU$4.50) which will rise to between €6 (AU$10) and €10 (AU$16) depending on the time of year from 2020.
The tax will only apply to day-trippers, as those who book hotel rooms already pay a tourist tax if they spend more than one night.
The popular destination is also set to introduce a new booking system for tourists from 2022 where visitors will need to “reserve access” to the city, but it’s not yet clear exactly what this will involve yet.
Brugnaro said that while people would not be denied access, entering would be “more complicated” for those who don’t reserve a spot, as per the Guardian.
“It’s not about how much we cash in, it’s about managing the tourist flow … we don’t want Venice to become a theme park,” he said.
Venice attracts about 30 million visitors a year, according to Lonely Planet, forcing authorities to introduce a number of measures to curb the damage caused by crowds and make the city more livable.