Italy’s city of Venice on Friday stated that it would again delay the implementation of a tourist tax as it plans to recover from the havoc wreaked upon tourism by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The historic Italian city said the levy, targeted at day-trippers excluded from an existing tax on tourists staying overnight, will not be in place until January 1, 2022.

"In light of the current situation, linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to make a big gesture to help encourage the return of tourists," said Michele Zuin, the city councillor for budget issues, in a statement.

Venice and its famous canals are usually packed with tourists and the new tax was intended to help cover the costs of keeping the city clean and safe.

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Unlike the existing levy for stays in hotels or rented accommodation, it would apply to day-trippers, including those who arrive on cruise ships.

But Venice became a desert when coronavirus swept through Italy earlier this year, and ongoing restrictions around the world continue to hit tourist numbers.

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The capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs.