Closing souvenir shops, Venice’s new bet against mass tourism

The city of dogs pulls the nail. After some cruise ships are banned in the lake and booked (paid) to explore the center, the municipality embarks on a new battle: getting rid of the “tourist shops”.

The city of dogs enjoys tourism as much as it suffers. And he is not La Republica Who would say otherwise. “Mini gondolas, small masks of carnival Plastic all year round, then snack vending machines at €2. This is the image that appears on the storefronts Venice Apply Now to Tourists », describing the Roman daily. Based on this note, the municipality is preparing to approve a regulation that prohibits the opening of any new business considered low-cost in certain historic downtown areas. During the next three years, “In all areas where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic and where there are sheltered buildings, there will be no more licenses to open new businesses selling low-quality goods”reports Corriere della Sera .

These rules will be more restrictive in the historic and central Saint-Marc district. “New points of sale for masks, non-craft souvenirs, vending machines, laundries, and even grocery stores selling drinks and snacks will be prohibited from opening.continues the Milan daily. Only butchers, fishmongers, and fruit and vegetable shops are allowed. »

‘Brave choice’

Artisan shops will be a favorite (here, Fornace Orsoni, the last mosaic producer to have a kiln still active on the island). Eric Martin Magazine / Le Figaro

Although not yet approved, will these regulations be enough to combat overtourism? Probably not, but the city’s mayor – businessman Luigi Brugnaro – is keen to make it clear: it’s aboutA brave choice, unprecedented in Italy. This action must be allowed, among other things “To counter the sale of bric-a-brac, focus on quality and prevent activities that enter into unfair competition”underlines the aedile on the right in columns La Republica. It must be said that Venice is especially vulnerable to mass tourism. Every year, 30 million tourists visit its historic center and its UNESCO heritage sites. In the face of this constant coming and going, 55,000 lake residents strive at all costs to stem the flow of visitors and preserve their city. And ended up hearing their anger.

Cruise ships over 25,000 tons are no longer allowed to travel on the Giudecca Channel, one of the two main shipping lanes around Piazza San Marco. Plenty to rest the gun. From August 1, 2021, this ban is just the first step in the desire to regulate the attendance of tourists, since from the summer of 2022, fees will be charged for the “Sérénissime”. price? Between €3 and €10 (depending on the season) to visit the historic center and the canals. This should let the authorities know how many visitors are entering each day, thanks to the installation of electronic gates at the various entry points. Believing that the concept of a “city museum” will become a reality.

Tourism tax, marketing … strategies against excess tourism

However, Venice is not the only city that has taken drastic measures to preserve its heritage and environment. Under the combined effect of the health crisis and environmental concerns, more and more destinations are now imposing restrictions on tourists: a tourism tax, an increase in parking prices, the introduction of paid buses, a quota for tourists, and a limited length of stay (maximum four hours in Machu Picchu or thirty days in Easter Island, for example) …

Because local authorities sometimes disappear, some tourist spots do not hesitate to play the “marketing” card. This is the case of Kalank National Park, which on its website publishes photos of crowded beaches accompanied by rather inappropriate text: “Many photos of heavenly bays taken in Calanques are circulating on social networks … but these photos do not show the long walk needed to reach the sites.” A strategy aimed at preserving the environment, local residents and travelers themselves, by influencing the choices of sites to be visited. All good to reduce mass tourism …

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