Venice is sinking. Everyone has heard that. But Venice is also suffering from severe overtourism, especially on its narrow waterways: In early June, a towering cruise liner crashed into a tourist riverboat and a dock in the busy Giudecca Canal, injuring four people. Reports say that the 80-metre cruise ship—one of the many large tourist vessels that attempt to navigate the clogged canals every day—couldn’t slow down in time before ploughing into the dock.
In response to the endless disquisition on who is allowed to enter the city’s already crowded waterways, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro came up with a more prudent solution: Don’t come to Venice.
On Italy’s Radio 24, Brugnaro outlined his plan to write to Unesco to ask for the city to be put on its blacklist. “Venice is in danger, and we feel in danger,” he said.
At present, Venice attracts around 30 million visitors a year—around 80,000 each day. It’s a startling weight, especially for a city of only some 260,000 inhabitants.
Although Venice has tried to alleviate the stress that over tourism puts on the city, its efforts don’t seem to be panning out. The city already implements an overnight tax on foreign visitors, and is thinking about introducing a new one for day trippers.
Earlier this year, the Italian government debated introducing a new day trip tax that would cost visitors could expect to pay up to €10 per entry.
Cruise ship tourists are seen as especially troubling for Venice, since they often sleep and have their meals onboard their ships instead of spending valuable tourism dollars in the city.
Instead of tourist hotspots like Venice, look toward lesser-known destinations that are no less beautiful. Apps like Bee+Hive provide travellers with useful resources to suss out destinations, as well as properties, that are run sustainably.