Venice Introduces New Tourist Tax To Save City From Sinking (PHOTOS)

08/11/2011 10:56 am ET | Updated Oct 11, 2011

The future for one of the world's most romantic cities has long seemed uncertain. But now, Venice is finding new ways to fight for its survival and hopefully reverse, or at least stall, the environmental catastrophe it faces.

Italian heritage group Italia Nostra recently warned that the large number of tourists visiting the town known locally as "La Serenissima," which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is contributing to the gradual destruction of its ecosystem.

As the Vancouver Sun is reporting, officials will implement new tourist taxes in an effort to save the Italian city from the rising sea levels and provide much-needed maintenance. Visitors staying in five-star hotels will see 4.5 euros added to their bill from Aug. 24, while those staying in less luxurious accommodation will pay according to a sliding scale of fees as the city edges closer to the long-advocated idea of an entrance fee.

"This tax is a new and important opportunity for the city," Sandro Simionato, Venice deputy mayor, is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. "The fundamental objective, which will also involve tourists who visit and love Venice, is to save this unique city, which is precious and fragile. The tax will help finance tourism, maintenance of cultural heritage sites, the environment, as well as public services."

View stunning photos of Venice here:

Venice Under Seige
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