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Shock as Florence tourist charged £22 for an ice cream because of cone | Travel News | Travel

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Ordering an ice cream as a sweet treat to cool down amid Florence’s stunning architectural delights actually sent the temperature of one visitor soaring as he was handed the bill. A visitor to Italy, who headed to the beautiful Italian city from his native Taiwan, was told to fork out £22 for a gelato served in a cone. Understandably irked at the over-the-top pricing, he complained to the shop owner, yet was told they “cost a lot because they are tasty.” Left with no option, he then paid the full 25 Euro cost.

His Italian tour guide complained to official authorities, with the Times later reporting the retail owner had hidden the gala price list to avoid it being seen by hungry customers.

Police official Elio Covino told La Repubblica: “Hiding prices is very common and is a habit that creates a poor impression around the world, given that tourists are the main victims.”

The venue was fined £1,800, or 2,000 Euros, after it was discovered the price list had been concealed.

In 2013, a similar Gelateria in Rome, Antica Roma, was forced to defend charging four British tourist £54 for ice creams.

It took out full page adverts in local newspapers to justify its retail pricing structure with an open letter entitled “Il prezzo e giusto” – translated as “the price is right”.

Meanwhile tourists to another holiday hub in the country, Venice, will also soon face additional costs.

Visitors hoping to take a romantic gondola ride, wander through St Mark’s Square or see the splendour of the Doge’s Palace will have to stump up £9 (€10) after the Italian Parliament passed the measure aimed at tackling the tourist crisis in the city.

Overwhelming visitor numbers to the sinking city have angered Venetians for decades despite tourism being Venice’s lifeblood.

Once the world’s greatest market city where exotic goods from across Asia met wealthy Europeans at the end of the Silk Road, Venice now relies primarily on the tourist dollar.

he new measure is aimed at improving the sustainability of the Venice’s tourism industry while alleviating residents’ frustrations about tourists ‘clogging’ the city’s streets and waterways.

Only tourists visiting on single day trips will be forced to pay to enter the fee while those staying overnight will be exempt, according to the Firenze Post.

The fee was authorised in the passing of Italy’s controversial budget which the Italian government has been arguing with the European Union over for months.

Matteo Sechi, spokesman of the association Venessia.com which fights for the defence of the lagoon city from mass tourism, said day-trippers account for the majority of Venice’s tourists and argued it was right they paid an entry fee.

Mr Sechi told the Firenze Post: “The landing tax rightly points to the daily tourists, who are the majority of visitors to the city.

“But they bring in only 30 percent of turnover compared to 70 percent brought by the few million overnight stays.”

Mr Sechi labelled visitors who only come for the day as ‘hit and run tourists’ and said they were mostly responsible for the packed squares which frustrate genuine residents.

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Travel & Escape

American woman faces $2,800 parking bill after leaving car in Toronto during pandemic

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Parking in the city can be costly, but one American woman is learning just how bad it can be after being unable to retrieve her car for nearly a year.

Detroit resident Kim Richardson left her 2004 Honda Element at the Park2Sky lot by Pearson airport in March 2020 before flying out to Europe for a medical procedure. She originally planned to retrieve it within two weeks but partway through her trip, the Canada-US border got closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Richardson’s return flight was rerouted to Detroit and she’s been unable to return to Toronto since.

What was originally a $100 bill has now inflated to $2,800 as the lot’s owner says he has a business to operate and is owed payment for 11 months of storage. However, Richardson believes she’s being extorted for an issue beyond her control.

Park2Sky personnel claim that several Americans who found themselves in similar predicaments have had their cars shipped home.

“I don’t understand, I don’t know what’s going on here. Business is down, I’m not making any money at all. People who leave their car are paid. She’s the only one that hasn’t paid,” said the owner to CBC News this week.

The stalemate is expected to last a while longer as travel restrictions remain in place and Ontario Provincial Police have said they won’t get involved in a civil matter.

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All systems are go for St. Lawrence Cruise Lines in 2021

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KINGSTON — Despite Canada’s newly extended cruise ship ban, Canadians still have a small-ship cruising alternative in 2021 with St. Lawrence Cruise Lines.

The small-ship operator, which sails on the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, has confirmed operations for 2021, with overnight cruises on both rivers from May 20 to Oct. 24. A variety of cruises ranging from four to seven nights will depart from Kingston, Ottawa and Quebec City, sailing exclusively in domestic waters with stops at select ports in Ontario and Quebec.

On Feb. 4, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra announced that Canada’s cruise ship ban will be extended until Feb. 28, 2022. This measure, which effectively prohibits cruise vessels carrying more than 100 passengers from operating in Canadian waters, does not impact the small-ship operations of St. Lawrence Cruise Lines and its 32-stateroom CANADIAN EMPRESS.

“We are excited to offer travellers a small ship option for the 2021 season,” said President Jason Clark. “Our overnight cruises stay close to shore in Canadian waters and our COVID-19 Health and Safety program has been recognized for its high standards.”

This past December, the cruise line was awarded the Safe Travels Stamp by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) for adherence to global standards of health and hygiene. The program includes a wide range of safety measures, including reduced passenger loads, masking, physical distancing and hospital-grade electrostatic disinfecting for both private staterooms and shared spaces. Plus, all staterooms have access to fresh air, climate controls and views of the river.

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Here’s How Canada’s ‘Screening Officers’ Will Check On Travellers During Quarantine

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The federal government is reminding all travellers in Canada that “Screening Officers” may pay them a visit post-arrival.

In a statement about the country’s latest travel restrictions, Transport Canada confirmed that newly-trained officials would be tasked with checking up on travellers during their two-week quarantine period.

The role of the Screening Officers will be to visit travellers’ quarantine locations to “establish contact, confirm identify and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada.”

This is to make sure individuals are complying with Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement.

The checks will be conducted across 35 Canadian cities, having already started in Montreal and Toronto back in January.

The officials will provide “compliance education” and will be able to issue verbal warnings, but stronger enforcement action will be referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and then law enforcement for follow-up checks. 

Failing to comply with the Quarantine Act or with Screening Officers’ instructions could result in fines of up to $750,000 or even jail time.

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