Venice new tax and the impact on experiential tourism

Experiential tourism and Venetians are celebrating the New Year with a little victory for the overwhelmed city. The Italian government has approved, and the city will introduce, a new tax on so-called “day trippers”. Tourists who visit Venice for only one day will have to pay a new tax of between 2.50-10 euro, depending on the season. The reasoning behind this is that tourists who visit the city for one day do not contribute much economically to the city, but do put a significant burden on the city’s already straining services. Venice is one of the first cities to introduce this kind of day tripper tax. It should not be confused with the hotel tax, which everyone overnighting in Venice, and many other tourist destinations, already has to pay.

Mass tourism and the “day tripper”

Mass tourism, also known as over tourism, is a huge problem, particularly in Italy. Due to a new number of factors Italy is experiencing a boom in experiential tourism sector, but has, unfortunately, become a victim of its own success. Many Italian cities, but also smaller towns, and even villages, are being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of visiting tourists. Cities like Venice, Florence, and Rome are classic examples of cities absolutely crowded by tourists, and while benefiting the economy, the hordes of visitors push local services to the limit. To combat this, local authorities introduced hotel taxes, so that tourists are charged a little bit extra, usually between 2-5 euro per night, and this money is invested in the city. This of course, is fair enough, however a new phenomenon has emerged: the day tripper. Tourists visiting a city, town, or village for one day avail of the local services, and enjoy the destination, but they do not spend any money in the local economy and this hardly seems fair. Popular tourist destinations are responding to this in diverse ways.

Fair is fair

Famously, Oscar Wilde had a brief stay on the beautiful island of Capri which was a favourite destination for artists and writers in the late 1800s. Unfortunately, he was refused permission to stay at any of the island’s hotels because of his “reputation” at the time. Luckily for the legendary playwright though, he did not have to pay the landing tax which the local authorities introduced to help them deal with mass tourism. Capri remains a top island destination for experiential tourism visitors to Southern Italy, and many people visit the island for one day, taking a boat from Napoli. These day trippers do not pay any hotel tax, and at times, do not spend any money in local restaurants or cafes. However, they must pay a landing tax of 2.50 euro, which is more than reasonable. Other Italian destinations have also introduced systems to charge day trippers. Civita di Bagnoregio, a little village near Rome charges visitors 5 euro to enter, while Polignano a Mare, another small village South of Bari, has apparently even introduced turnstiles and is charging visitors 5 euro to enter the historic centre.

Experiential tourism can help deal with mass tourism

These measures to combat the worst effects of mass tourism, particularly in relation to day trippers, are set to expand. It is a fairly blunt way of dealing with mass tourism. However, experiential tourism offers a more sustainable, perhaps less vulgar or aggressive way of reducing mass tourism. These destinations experiencing mass tourism charge money for the privilege of tourists to visit them, but remain massively overcrowded, thereby affecting the experience of tourists in a negative way. Venice is also trying to cope with mass tourism by redirecting tourists to less “popular” or “well known” parts of the city. We believe that this represents the first moves on behalf of local authorities to actively encouraging new tourist concepts like experiential tourism. And experiential tourism is a way of visiting the popular destinations which is not only sustainable and considerate, but also provides the tourist with a unique experience and view of the destination, whether that is a large city like Rome or Napoli, or smaller towns or villages like Pordenone or Matera.

Artès: leading provider of experiential tourism in Italy

Mass tourism is something that will become more of an issue over the coming months and years if the authorities do not act timely. Local authorities are trying to come up with solutions to deal with it already, and will continue to search for other ways for handle it. Experiential tourism is an elegant way of coping with mass tourism which, we at Artès believe will be more sought after as a solution to mass tourism in the future. We are one of the leading providers in the experiential tourism sector in Italy, so if you are looking for experiential products to offer your customers please visit our website and browse our extensive catalogue.