Home Lifestyle Popular European city imposes new ban on groups of tourists

Popular European city imposes new ban on groups of tourists


One European city has imposed a new ban to combat over-tourism (Picture: Getty Images)

Famous for operating almost entirely on the water, Venice is one of the most visited cities in Italy.

But it isn’t all roses: tourism is an endless topic of debate in the region, with it’s new entry fee causing controversy among locals and visitors like.

And now, it’s imposed yet more rules for those who want to experience the city: guided groups travelling to the World Heritage Site, as well as the nearby islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello, will be limited to a maximum of 25 people.

For perspective, this is approximately half the capacity of a standard tour bus, which typically accommodates around 50 passengers.

The rule aims to cut down pedestrian traffic in immensely popular areas such as Piazza San Marco and Murano’s Via del Giudecca, with loudspeakers, which generate ‘confusion and disturbances,’ according to the city, also banned.

Venice, which is the capital of Italy’s Veneto region in the north, is visited by millions of tourists each year – an estimated 30 million, to be exact.

Not everyone is thrilled by the measures (Picture: Getty Images)

And yet, only around 260,000 people call it their permanent home, meaning that visitors far outnumber locals, many of whom are increasingly dissatisfied with the culture of over-tourism.  

Last year, one Reddit thread lent itself to this very debate after one user by the name of @OnionAdmirable7353 wrote: ‘Too many tourists this summer?’ in the Venice thread.

‘I live an hour away, and it’s terrible what the local residents must endure on a daily basis. Something has to change because this isn’t sustainable for sure,’ @insatiable_infj penned in reply, while @Exotic_Tackle_940 added that there are ‘still too many’ tourists, describing it as ‘overcrowded all year’ and holiday season as ‘unbearable.’

Venice is famous for its gondolas (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Others argued that ‘poor Venice’ was taking too much of the brunt.

‘It’s too concentrated on poor Venice. There are so many beautiful cities in Italy that could handle a few more visitors, even just in Veneto. Everything you think you want from history to art to food is also available in Padova, Vicenza, Treviso…. Why are people only going to Venice?’ @Fastness2000 said.

The measure comes just months after the controversial tourist tax was launched in April, making Venice the first in the world to charge a fee for tourists and restrictions on tour groups.

Though the €5 (£4.26) entry fee has been introduced to protect the city from over-tourism, not all locals aren’t happy.

Burano in the Venetian lagoon has introduced the same rules as Venice (Picture: Getty Images)

Speaking to The Guardian, Matteo Secchi complained: ‘I can tell you that almost the entire city is against it. You can’t impose an entrance fee to a city; all they’re doing is transforming it into a theme park. This is a bad image for Venice… I mean, are we joking?’

Likewise, the city’s former mayor, Massimo Cacciari, is not a fan of the fee, telling the Adnkronos news agency that tourists already ‘pay for everything’ and urging them not to pay it at all.

So, if you’re looking to experience a gondola ride or two this summer, remember to add the tourist tax into your holiday budget, too.

Lake Como is also adopting a ‘tourist fee’ like Venice

The gorgeous Italian locale of Lake Como is planning to follow in the footsteps of Venice by introducing a tourist tax.

The travel hotspot, located in Lombardo, northern Italy, attracts around 1.4 million visitors a year. It was used as a glamorous backdrop in Lady Gaga’s film House of Gucci, and the James Bond flick Casino Royale. 

Alessandro Rapinese, mayor of Como city, said the idea of a tourist tax – an extra charge for visitors to wander around the area – is under consideration.

‘We are already discussing the idea [of a tourist tax]. Revolutions begin with concrete measures and we are ready for this long journey,’ Alessandro told The Times in April 2024.

‘[It’s] difficult to be mayor when you are fighting tourism.’

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