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Venice accused of discrimination over high tourist prices

venice2A complaint against Venice has been taken to the EU for gouging visitors.

The two-tier system of charging means that tourists pay far more than Venetian locals for services. It is being claimed that this is in breach of the EU regulations on equality.

The unnamed complainant who wishes to remain anonymous is known to be of both Italian and Belgian nationalities. He believes the difference in prices amounts to unfair discrimination.

His five-page dossier highlights the widely differing prices. For example, visitors need to pay €18 to visit the Doges’ Palace, and €5 a day for wi-fi while Venetians face no charges.

While locals pay just €1.30 for the vaporetti, or water buses, a tourist must stump up €7 for a ticket. Another €1.50 has to be deployed to use a public lavatory, but locals need just 25 cents.

He estimates that a tourist family of four must spend €136 for an average day of sightseeing whereas locals would pay just €12.40.

“European treaties call for freedom of movement and equal treatment for all the citizens of the EU,” he told La Stampa newspaper.

“Applying this sort law, where entrance to museums is free for those born in the city, makes Venice unique in Europe. Imagine if they did the same thing in Paris, London or Rome.”

(Ed note – this is not wholly true as locals can visit the cathedral in Faro for free while others must pay.)

Many residents, however, feel that coping with the 20 million visitors who crowd the city each year means that they earn the difference in prices.

Silvio Testa, a Venetian campaigner against the giant cruise ships entering the city, said: “Tourism is a tsunami that devours the city.

“The double pricing system is the lesser evil, a small consolation for the 59,000 people who cling on to living in Venice, which is becoming like Disneyland.”

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-13 #3 Joao Martins 2015-05-10 16:24
I spend the winter in Thailand summer in Portugal,
there if i go to (many) tourist sites there is one
fee for me and usually a very small fee for the
locals, always been like that, no one really says
anything, pay or leave.
-12 #2 Peter Booker 2015-05-09 08:30
There are places in England (such as York Minster) where local ratepayers enter free; King´s Chapel in Cambridge where members of the University enter free.

The problem may be in charging locals at all - such a charge does differentiate. Offering a local service free to locals who pay in another way (through their rates) seems eminently fair.
-9 #1 Enid 2015-05-09 08:16
Discrimination against other EU nationals is just one of the reforms the Tories must push for.

It is idiotic the stronger EU states propping up failed states like Portugal when it has only ever taken care of its own VIP elite. And wasted hundreds of billions of euros lining rich pockets and yet still leaving 25% of the population at or near poverty.

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