According to Reader’s Digest, May and June are two of the most popular months to visit Italy.

Venice has found a new method for managing the anticipated spring and summer crowds: a fee for day-trippers.

Here’s what to know about the new fee and how it will affect your travel plans.

What to know about the Venice tourist tax

Per Lonely Planet, Venice received a whopping 30 million visitors in 2019. Many of those visitors were day-trippers, or tourists who spend time in the city for just one day.

In an effort to discourage day-tripping and to control crowds, the city implemented a tourist tax of 5 euros ($5.37) as a requirement to enjoy Venice’s beauty for a day.

Venice is the first city in the world to impose a charge on entering one-day visitors, according to CBS News.

For now, “the roughly $5.37 fee only applies on 29 days that are deemed to be the busiest between April 25, a holiday in Italy, and July 14, in a trial phase of the reservation-and-fee system,” CBS News reported.

Here’s how it works: When visitors pay the fee, they will receive a ticket showing their initials, a booking code, and a QR code, per CNN. The link to purchase a day pass, which is also known as an “access fee,” can be found here. If visitors cannot pay the fee online, they can do so at two entrance points before entering Venice.

Additional information, including exemptions from the fee, can also be found on the website.

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Why is there a tourist tax?

Venice leaders gave a number of reasons for imposing the tax.

Per UNESCO, the high number of tourists has resulted in “functional transformations” of the city, replacing residential homes with tourist activities and accommodations. According to UNESCO, these changes “endanger the identity and the cultural and social integrity of the property.”

Additionally, tourism has contributed to problems for the fragile infrastructure of Venice. Per the BBC, crowds have increased the number of boats on the canals, which has resulted in waves that are eroding centuries-old buildings.

The population of Venice has shrunk significantly, too. According to The Guardian, Venice had about 175,000 residents in the years after World War II. Today, there are fewer than 50,000 residents.

Per Euronews, Simone Venturini, Venice’s top tourism official, proposed the need for balance. He said, “We need to safeguard the spaces of the residents, of course, and we need to discourage the arrival of day-trippers on some particular days.”

Reactions to Venice’s new fee for tourists

The new fee has not been implemented without consequences. The program launched on April 25, the same day as Italy’s Liberation Day, according to CNBC. That day, around a thousand protesters gathered in Piazzale Roma in opposition to the fee.

“I can tell you that almost the entire city is against it,” Matteo Secchi, leader of a residents’ activist group, told The Guardian. “You can’t impose an entrance fee to a city; all they’re doing is transforming it into a theme park.”

Anna Scovracricchi, a bookbinding artisan who relocated her family to nearby Padua due to the high cost of rent, told the BBC, “People will surely pay €5 to come to Venice. The real problem is the lack of housing and the fact that the city has turned into a huge bed and breakfast.”

According to Forbes, critics argue that the fee will hurt — rather than help — the issues of overcrowding. While the fee is intended to balance tourism revenue and residential maintenance, “whether it does so effectively remains to be seen.”