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Protesters clash with cops as tourist tax introduced at holiday hot spot

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PROTESTERS marching against a controversial “tourist tax” slapped on short stay holidaymakers have clashed with cops.

Furious demonstrators wielding colourful placards and banners descended on Venice’s narrow streets and picturesque canals to voice their opposition to the decision.

Protestors clash with riot police officers during a demonstration against the new 'Venice Access Fee'

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Protestors clash with riot police officers during a demonstration against the new ‘Venice Access Fee’Credit: AFP
People occupied streets and canals to protest the move

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People occupied streets and canals to protest the moveCredit: Reuters
A gondolier sails with two customers near San Marco Square in Venice today

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A gondolier sails with two customers near San Marco Square in Venice todayCredit: AFP

The proposal has been debated for years – but Venice will begin charging day-trippers €5 (£4.30) if visiting the historical Italian centre from today until May 5.

Venice is the first city in the world to charge an entry fee for holidaymakers.

The new measures have been introduced due to the over tourism the area suffers from.

The council executive backed the move just weeks after UN cultural agency UNESCO recommended Venice be added to its list of world heritage in danger, in part because of the impact of mass tourism.

Locals also lined the streets to support disgruntled tourists.

Matteo Secchi, who leads residents’ activist group Venessia.com, said: “I can tell you that almost the entire city is against it.

“You can’t impose an entrance fee to a city; all they’re doing is transforming it into a theme park.

“This is a bad image for Venice…I mean, are we joking?”

The city is yet to reveal how many tickets will be sold per day, meaning some tourists could be turned away on entry.

The 30-day trial will take place across public holidays and weekends next spring and summer.

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Not everyone will have to pay the charge.

People who live in Venice are exempt, as are students and kids under the age of 14.

And anyone staying in Venice overnight also won’t have to pay the €5 charge.

Simone Venturini, the city’s council member for tourism, said the new scheme was not about making money, but to find a “balance between the rights of those who live, study or work in Venice, and those who visit the city”.

The plans were first discussed back in 2018, with previous plans charging as much as €10 to enter.

Everything you need to know about visiting Italy

  • Brits must have at least three months left on their passport from the day they plan to leave the country.
  • Tourists do not need a visa if visiting for up to 90 days in 180 days.
  • Make sure your passport is stamped on entry and exit.
  • Travellers may be asked to show hotel booking confirmations and that they have enough money for their stay at the border.
  • Holidaymakers may also need to show proof of insurance.
  • Italy is one hour ahead of the UK.
  • The country uses the euro with around €10 working out to £8.55.
  • Flights to Italy from the UK take between 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the destination.

Venturini said he had been inundated with questions about the scheme at a recent UN tourism conference.

“We are guinea pigs, and there was great interest,” he said.

Former mayor Massimo Cacciari slammed the ‘tax’, pointing out that tourists already “pay for everything” and urged visitors to refuse paying the fee.

But tourism councillor Simone Venturini applauded the fee as a pragmatic approach to reducing the effects of over tourism.

“We want to discourage day-trippers from visiting Venice during these 29 designated days,” he said.

“Fewer day trippers does not mean less revenue because overnight tourists are more important to the economy of the city.

“We will see the results in the medium to long-term and in the meantime we will assess how it goes.”

Meanwhile, these new rules have banned tourists taking photos near an attraction in Spain.

And this Spanish city is also cracking down on tourists with new rules.

Members of social centers take part in a demonstration in Piazzale Roma against the introduction of the fee

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Members of social centers take part in a demonstration in Piazzale Roma against the introduction of the feeCredit: EPA
Protesters  at Piazzale Roma, opposing the charge for tourists to enter the city

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Protesters at Piazzale Roma, opposing the charge for tourists to enter the cityCredit: Getty
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