Venice to charge admission?

A report quotes the city’s mayor, Massimo Cacciari, who indicates that it is under serious consideration.

“The great tourist centres have the problem of sustaining the costs of maintenance and conservation caused by the massive presence of guests,” Mr Cacciari told Panorama, a news weekly.

With nearly 50,000 tourists pouring through the city every day, he went on, “people who use the city’s services and make it dirty…Venice is in difficulties. If a subsidy from the state is out of the question, we will be obliged to think of a new entrance tax or something of the sort.”

But when the idea was first mooted earlier this year by the British economist John Kay, it was envisaged as a prudent way of managing tourism in a city which far more people may want to visit in the near future.

“If we regard Venice as one of the crown jewels of Western European civilisation,” he told a conference in June, “and we should, we want as many tourists as possible to go there. The issue is how to accommodate, indeed to promote, such cultural tourism without letting tourists destroy what it is that people go to visit.”

With “2.5 billion people in China and India alone whose incomes might within 50 years be comparable with ours,” he pointed out, “…the number of people who will want to see Venice, and who will be able to afford to see it, might very plausibly expand by a factor of three or more over the next few decades.”

Pointing out that “12 million people a year pay 50 euros a year to visit Eurodisney,” he said, “If the Disney Corporation owned Venice, Venice would no longer be in peril.”

Eurodisney (Euro Disney SCA, EDL on the Paris stock exchange) has survived from financial crisis to financial crises. Since its market debut its shares have gone down dramatically. Over the past 5 years the shares have gone from €0.94 per share to €0.08. It has been brink of bankruptcy several times. The Rodent as the owner of Venice? Now there is a horrifying thought.

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