Is the Ban on Large Tourist Groups in Venice a Step in the Right Direction?

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Rialto bridge and Grand Canal in Venice

Venice, one of the most frequented tourist areas in Italy is set to cap groups of tourists at 25 effective June. Officials explained that the move by authorities is a way of preventing over-tourism and noise pollution in the canal city.

The arguments

Apart from the ban on tourist groups exceeding 25 individuals, Venice authorities approved a daily fee of €5 in September 2023 for visitors which will be launched in April, two months before the ban takes its full course.

Venice’s official in charge of security backs the regulation as a strategic way of protecting the people of the city from confusion or overcrowding. She added the policies “aimed at improving the management of groups organised in the historic centre”.

A call by some experts of UNESCO to have the city listed as part of the body’s list of world heritage sites in danger in July 2023 was futile after the cultural body blamed the city’s authorities for a “lack of strategic vision” to combat the problems of the tourist hotspot.

The facts

In the last 50 years, the population of Venice has seen an unimaginable decrease. Experts conclude that the number will decline rapidly in the years to come. Some even say there would be no permanent residents in Venice apart from tourists in 2030.

The World Population Review website gives a breakdown of Venice’s populace in 2011, 2019 and 2024. The residents of Venice in 2011 were  261,362. 2019 came and there were 259,150 residents. Currently in 2024, the canal city records 257,777 as its population.

A close attention to the figures mentioned above and you will realise that each subsequent year saw a drop in the Venice population numbers. This stems from the issue of mass tourism.

According to the Italian National Statistics Institute, Venice, a city which is just 7.6 sq km (2.7 sq miles) in size hosted almost 13 million tourists in 2019.

A study launched in April 2023 also revealed that there was an increase in the number of beds for tourists as it had risen to 50, 000. Superseding the number of beds for permanent residents.

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