A tourist tax that Venice plans to introduce in May has been harshly criticized by the country’s tourism minister as “useless and damaging,” The Telegraph reports.
Plans to charge tourists $3.50 from May 1, with the amount rising to a maximum of $11.50 by 2021, were announced Monday by the mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro.
By 2020, in addition to paying the surcharge, tourists will have to make a “reserve access” booking to enter the city.
Anyone found trying to skip out on the fees will be fined up to $513.
Within a day of the plan’s unveiling, Gian Marco Centinaio, Italy’s tourism minister, delivered a scathing critique:.
“Do we want to become a country that repels tourists?” he wrote on Twitter, adding that it was “enough to make you weep.”