Venice struggles with Tourism

Venice struggles with Tourism

by Saheb Bhattacharya July 31 2017, 6:30 pm

Venice has been complaining with the extensive tourism that has taken place in the city over the past few years. There have been frequent protests by the locals to put some light on the issue. Few forms of protest include locals walking the length of Venice with shopping trolleys as they chanted "Watch your legs, I have my trolley!”.

This situation gives a rare insight about the negative implications of tourism. From tacky souvenirs on display at every corner to the overpopulated restaurants in the city, the Venice locals have a long list of complaints. Statistics do not lie, in an article written by Isabella Mackie in VICE news, she mentions how there are over 20 million tourists and only 55,000 residents in Venice and this huge gap brings about problems for the locals. The public transport system in Venice is mainly filled with tourists not giving adequate reservation for locals to navigate the city.

Luisella Romeo, who runs See Venice tours has suggested that there should by mandates that should be followed by tourism officials such that inconvenience to locals are minimized. For example, rules such as no loud speakers and no tourist groups more than 20 people could help locals combat the inconvenience they face through tourism. The real estate market of Venice has also taken a turn due to the excessive tourism. "In Venice, there are hundreds of apartments that are empty ... the private real estate market is out of control. We don't need more taxes or controls, we need a legislation that invites, through fiscal detractions, owners to rent their house to residents instead of tourists”, was the statement made by a member of Comitato No Grandi Navi ("No big ships committee”) Marco Baravalle.

One of the most pertinent causes of over tourism in Venice are cruise ships. In 2014 there was an outstanding number of 10 ships a week bringing over 1.8 million people a year to the lagoon. Tourists coming on cruise ships tend to spend less as they stay and dine at the ship and just come to visit Venice in the day. However, the number of job opportunities provided by the cruise outweighs its negative impact. To beat the cartel formed between Cruise owners and multinationals the neoliberal plans for the city made by the government must be put into effect.

John Locktov who has edited various books written on Venice says “Part of the paralysis in Venice seems to be because the problems have reached crisis proportions. The epic mismanagement of the city has continued for decades, and residents have now reached a tipping point of anger, despair and frustration. For every issue the city faces, there are a myriad of solutions that each come with their own set of expert opinion and political persuasion. The solutions are neither clear nor easy, though benign neglect is the worst solution.” While the protestors are doing their bit by raising awareness about the matter its time the government does their bit as well.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.

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