Will tourists be able to sink Venice?
Venice is not facing a rising tide, but two: the first is the water that gnaws at the foundations of the Serenissima and the large ships that still dock close to historic monuments. The second is the excessive flow of tourists. It is estimated that there are at least 25 million tourists each year. The Italian (populist) authorities have found a small way…
Venice sinks inexorably
Venice has been facing rising waters since its inception.
Built towards the end of the 6th century on a hundred islets connected by a maze of canals, the Serenissima is used to floods linked to high tides. Between 2000 and 2010, St. Mark’s Square was under more than 1.10 metres of water more than 50 times.
Despite much work, the lagoon continues to sink. Forecasts predict a decline of 8 cm over the next 20 years, according to Italian and French scientists. Global warming would also be responsible.
The cruise problem is not solved
In 2017, the Italian government announced a ban on cruise ships in the historic centre of Venice after a long-standing campaign to prevent them from entering the famous Grand Canal. However, it will take at least four years to implement the changes, which will see vessels weighing 100,000 tonnes or more redirected to the nearby industrial city of Marghera.
Environmental activists fought to ban cruise ships from the Venice lagoon, not just from the city centre, and this announcement is far below this reality.
In the meantime, the waves created by the constant passage of boats are causing cracks in the foundations. Water deteriorates entire sections of walls that collapse. At least 4 years ago, the damage was visible on some palaces.
Italians are between heritage protection and economy
The United Nations has issued a warning for concrete actions to be taken because, for the time being, Venice is part of UNESCO’s threatened heritage. It will be necessary to wait for the ships to arrive closer to St. Mark’s Square (they bring in money). It will also be necessary to wait for concrete actions for accommodation rented to tourists (this serves the interests of the rich Venetians). The municipality of Venice has found its solution… charging tourists an entry fee! This tax will be added to the tourist tax paid by guests staying in hotels.
A tax that will only be used to pay for cleaning Venice
The Mayor of Venice (and entrepreneur), Luigi Brugnaro, presented the city’s plan for a new tax, which he hopes will pave the way for a more sustainable future. The main use of this tax, which is expected to generate €3 million in the first year, will initially consist of keeping the city clean. We are far from the real protection of the lake city.
What is the price of the tourist toll?
Visitors will be charged provisionally three euros per day in low season and 10 euros in high season. The movement has been approved by the populist government… as a way to recover the costs of cleaning up the damage and waste left by 24 million tourists a year, many of whom arrive on day trips and contribute little to the city’s economy.
I must say that it is not a tax that will stop tourists
The problem is not the number of tourists per se, but their desire to see the same things, at the same time, in the same way: it produces spectacular bottlenecks in a limited number of places including Venice, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik… France is trying to make its provinces known. Thailand will start a campaign to raise awareness of the beautiful provinces that are still not very popular. Tourists are not yet heading to all these little-known destinations.
To a lesser extent, laquotidienne.fr strives to find destinations that are in the making.