Venice to introduce tourist tax next month



City breaks to Venice are just about to hit your pocket harder, as the city is now introducing a hotel tourist tax - starting from next month.

Holidaymakers staying in five-star hotels will be hit with a €4.50 (£4) extra charge from 24 August, while less luxurious accommodation will charge according to a scale of fees.

But the millions of pounds raised by the tourist tax will go towards a good cause: saving the city from disappearing into mud and combating rising sea levels.

Sandra Simonato, Venice's deputy mayor, told the Telegraph: 'The fundamental objective is to secure from tourists who visit and love Venice a contribution to sustain a city that is unique, extremely precious but also extremely fragile.'

Venice, Italy's third most-visited destination after Rome and Tuscany, is quite literally 'swamped' with tourists, with the same amount of people visiting every day as the number who actually live there (60,000).

And critics of the tax fear that it will only drive up numbers of day visitors unwilling to pay the extra cost of staying the night.

The new tax will apply to hotels and bed and breakfasts in Venice and the islands scattered across its lagoon, as well as camp sites on the mainland.

The levy will vary according to season, but most tourists will be affected as Venice's high season is deemed to cover 257 days of the year, including Carnival in February, Easter, the summer months and Christmas.

Children aged between 10 and 16 will pay half the tax, while those under 10 will not be charged at all.

Earlier this month Italia Nostra (Our Italy), a leading heritage group, said the sea-fringed city faced an 'irreversible' environmental catastrophe and risked 'losing its soul' unless the number of visitors was capped and large cruise ships were restricted.

Tuscany has even more visitors than Venice - discover its treasures below:

Top ten Tuscan treasures

Top ten Tuscan treasures

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