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Venice tourist statistics

The City of Venice's annual "Yearbook of Tourism" is packed with interesting data, and the month-by-month numbers can help you avoid peak-season visitor crowds.

Venice tourists with luggage

ABOVE: Venice's historic center can feel crowded during peak travel periods, but the actual number of tourists is about one-fifth of what you may have read in the news media.


Tourism statistics may sound like a dry (and esoteric) topic, but the numbers can be illuminating--and sometimes they can even be useful in planning your trip.

For example, if you hate crowds, tourism statistics can help you find the months when visitor mobs are at a minimum. And if you're wondering how much to budget, knowing what other travelers are spending can make it easier to gauge what a visit will cost.

In this article, we'll share a sampling of official numbers from the City of Venice's Yearbook of Tourism report. (The statistics are from 2019, the most recent "normal" year before the pandemic put a damper on international tourism. You can download the report via a link at the end of this article.)


How many visitors come to Venice:

International news media often publish unsourced guesstimates of tourism in Venice, with over-the-top numbers ranging from 20 to 100 million tourists per year. The Venice Tourism Department's officially recorded numbers are considerably smaller:

  • Tourist arrivals: 5,523,283 in 2019, for a 5.1% increase over the previous year. This averages out to 15,132 visitors per day.


Venice tourists with child

ABOVE: In Venice, any visitor can be a princess.


Where they come from:

International travelers exceed domestic tourists by a significant margin: 4,776,239 foreigners compared to 747,044 Italians. The top 10 countries of origin are:

  1. U.S.A.: 844,443 (15.3% of total)

  2. Italy: 747,044 (13.5%)

  3. UK: 387,202 (8.0%)

  4. France: 356,962 (6.5%)

  5. Germany: 292,451 (5.3%)

  6. China: 237,880 (4.5%)

  7. Spain: 212,450 (3.8%)

  8. South Korea: 169,206 (3.1%)

  9. Japan: 162,447 (2.9%)

  10. Australia: 143,656 (2.6%)

Altogether, foreigners represent 86.5% of tourist arrivals, compared to 13.5% for Italians.


Venice Christmas decorations

ABOVE: December is a wonderful month to visit Venice. Crowds are about half of what they are in summer, and decorations (such as these on the Rialto Bridge) add to the holiday atmosphere.


When they visit:

As you might guess, Venice is much quieter from December through February than in the warmer months, making winter in Venice delightful if you don't mind a bit of chill and want to avoid the crowds.

Here's a month-by-month breakdown of tourist nights or "occupancies."

  • January: 585,168

  • February: 709,285

  • March: 926,135

  • April: 1,168,451

  • May: 1,242,135

  • June: 1,329,515

  • July: 1,417,224

  • August: 1,447,038

  • September: 1,384,529

  • October: 1,349,695

  • November: 779,296

  • December: 610,048

It's worth noting that the busiest and least busy months for international visitors are August and January, while the busiest and least busy months for Italian tourists are April and January.

Closer examination of the official data shows that overnight stays by foreigners build steadily from spring until late summer (dropping off gradually in September and October).

In contrast, Italian tourist occupancies peak in April, fall sharply in May, and don't pick up again until Italy's traditional summer vacation month of August.


ABOVE: Yachts aren't mentioned in the city's official tourism statistics, but you'll often see vessels like this one moored on the Venetian waterfront.


How they arrive:

Determining how visitors arrive is tricky, because some numbers (such as automobile arrivals) are hard to count and other numbers (such as airport traffic) include tourists, business travelers, and residents of Northeastern Italy who may be traveling elsewhere in the region.

Also, transportation statistics represent passenger movements--i.e., arrivals and departures--not just arrivals.

By air: 14,816,325. Of these passengers, 11,561,594 used Venice Marco Polo Airport in 2019, while 3,254,731 passed through Treviso Airport (which is served mostly by the low-cost carriers Ryanair and Wizz Air).

By ship: In 2019, passenger traffic through the Port of Venice totaled 1,822,703, which breaks down as follows: Ocean cruises (1,611,341 passenger movements), river cruises (15,796), international ferries (101,708), and hydrofoils (93,858).

By train, bus, or car: Venice's Tourism Department doesn't publish comprehensive numbers for rail and road arrivals, but an appendix to the official statistics includes these figures from a VeneziaUnica online survey of Venice tourists in 2017:

Modes of transportation (all modes)

  • Plane: 53% of arrivals

  • Train: 27%

  • Car/Motorcycle: 16%

  • Bus: 2%

  • Cruise ship: 1%

  • Motor vessel from seaside towns: 1%

  • Other: 1%


Venice's Grand Canal with vaporetto and water taxi

ABOVE: If you enjoy views of boat traffic and palazzi, join the lucky visitors who stay in hotels on the Grand Canal.


Where (and for how long) visitors stay:

  • Historic center: 3,515,000 guests, with an average stay of 2.51 nights.

  • Lido di Venezia: 143,000 guests, with an average stay of 3.00 nights.

  • Mainland (e.g., Mestre/Marghera): 1,865,000 guests, with an average stay of 1.98 nights.

Of the visitors who stayed in the Metropolitan City of Venice during 2019, 3,768,000 chose hotels or B&Bs and 1,756,000 stayed in other accommodations such as vacation apartments, hostels, religious guesthouses, and campgrounds.


How much visitors spend:

As a traveler, you probably aren't obsessed with what other people spend, but the numbers here may be useful in helping you gauge what to expect.

Earlier, we mentioned the VeneziaUnica online survey of visitors in 2017. The figures in this section are derived from that survey.

For overnight visitors in 2017, expenditures were as follows:

  • Less than € 25: 2% of respondents

  • €25 - 50: 14%

  • €51-100: 33%

  • €101-200: 33%

  • More than € 200: 17%

For day visitors (a.k.a. "daytrippers), expenditures were obviously less. (The Yearbook of Tourism report breaks the numbers down further by international and domestic travelers.)

  • Less than €25: 12% of respondents

  • €25 - 50: 34%

  • €50 - 100: 33%

  • €100 - 200: 14%

  • More than €200: 4%


What travelers think of Venice after visiting:

In the 2017 VeneziaUnica survey cited in the Yearbook of Tourism, scores for overall satisfaction were remarkably high. On a scale of 1 to 5 from "very bad" to "excellent", ratings after the visit were as follows:

  • 1: 0% of respondents

  • 2: 1%

  • 3: 4%

  • 4: 30%

  • 5: 65%

The "intend to return" figures are also noteworthy:

  • Yes: 94%

  • No: 6%

The bottom line is that, despite peak-season crowds (especially in popular areas such as the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge), visitors to Venice have an enjoyable experience and would like to visit the city again.


Cheryl Imboden in Venice, Italy

ABOVE: Cheryl Imboden explores the streets and squares of Venice.


Our caveats and personal observations:

  • The Tourism Department's official statistics don't include daytrippers from outside the munipality of Venice (which includes districts on the Italian mainland, not just in the historic center or "tourist Venice"). Such information should be more readily available in future years, now that the city has taken a cue from China's surveillance state by tracking the cell phones of residents and visitors to determine their places of origin.

  • The official statistics also fail to distinguish between out-of-town visitors and residents of  the metropolitan region who may be in the city to shop, visit government offices, see doctors, go to classes, attend soccer matches, hang out with friends, etc. (Venice is a provincial and regional capital, a major retail center, and the hub of an area with 2,600,000 residents in 240+ cities and communities.)

  • The foreign press, aided by local anti-cruise activists, have portrayed cruise ships as a major source of daytrippers in Venice. In reality, Venice is primarily an embarkation and disembarkation port (catering heavily to Italians from Northern Italy) rather than a daytime "port of call" like Dubrovnik or Santorini, which means that the majority of cruisers aren't day visitors. What's more, as the VeneziaUnica survey mentioned earlier has shown, only about 1% of Venice tourist arrivals are on cruise ships.

    It's also worth noting that large cruise ships no longer moor in central Venice, and several major cruise lines have shifted operations to other ports along the Adriatic coast.

  • Venice's elected officials garner votes by decrying "overtourism," yet the city continues to add luxury shops, mass-market merchandisers, and piers for boats that haul tour groups from gateways such as the parking island of Tronchetto to the Piazza San Marco. In Venice, as elsewhere, there's often a dissonance between politicians' words and deeds.

Downloadable source material:

Yearbook of Tourism 2019 (Città di Venezia)
The Venice Tourism Department's PDF document is 178 pages long, and the text is in English. Statistical tables are accompanied by bar graphs, pie charts, and well-written summaries of numbers and trends.