Open Eyes Opinion
Managing the people flow and the governance of tourism in Venice.
Guest Post by Marco Scurati- Venice, Italy
Project for Sustainable Tourism for Venice
(Edited by open eyes opinion)
Hoping for Venice to become “a capital of sustainable tourism in 2020 ”
For a long time the city of Venice has been without a real and proper governance of tourism and this is why today, before it’s too late, it is indispensable to give solid answers and not vague electoral promises and, therefore a decisive plan is needed.
Sustainable Tourism in Venice by means of an ‘Entry Management System’ is of the utmost priority to save the Venetian Historical Center.
Candidates have to take on tangible tasks and define solutions if they want to have a vote of confidence. Venetians are fed up with non-regulated tourism, which damages the city which in turn makes mobility difficult for residents to conduct traditional daily activities and in some areas even unlivable.
Venice is losing her appeal due to poor management of the volume of tourists who visit our city. Loyal visitors who for decades have enjoyed her charm no longer identify with our city that has lost its soul and a centuries-old identity.
We need to regulate the waves of mass tourism, which are OVERTAKING Venice, but how can we manage an increasing number of visitors in a limited space like Venice?
How can we balance the large numbers of tourists whom we are dependent and still preserve the city and the quality of life and its inhabitants?
The measures which have been implemented so far by administrators and that have been announced by various institutional figures are either ineffective or unworkable.
The current programs regarding seasonal pricing adjustments have failed; The suggestion of diverting the traffic flow by means of alternative itineraries combined with a new city tax, will not reduce the number of visitors, nor can you manage city access unless you restrict the number of visitor permits imposed on all of the city, but on the area of Venice, which is most OVERRUN by “ hit and run tourism” that is tourism with no economic value to the city.
The only solution lies in the adoption of the “limit concept”; not imposed on all of the city, but on the area of Venice which is most OVERRUN by “ hit and run tourism” that is tourism with no economic value to the city.
So we propose that St Mark’s Square be considered a “Closed Boundary Museum Area” , which will allow it to be more easily controlled and whereby borders and a fixed max quantity admitted will have a major effect on the entire city.
By limiting the daily number of tourists allowed into the square (Because most of the tourists want to go there) we can CONTROL the flow moving towards the area around St Mark’s square, by using an online registration to reserve access to this restricted area. By controlling access we can guarantee a satisfactory visiting experience TO ALL VISITORS.
We suggest that this can be achieved by online registrations, ‘Marco Pass’ sold through internet sites, marketplace and intermediary GDS (Global Distribution Systems), and all tourism distribution methods.
In fact, there is a sector of tourism today, which entirely by-passes the Internet when using booking engine and dynamic packaging platform.
By mandating a tourist registration for daily visitors not staying overnight to enter the area of San Marco a tourist or an agency will be able to verify the availability on a certain date and buy a pass with a personal bar code.
The limitation of passes could be the equivalent of the historic center inhabitants. Guests staying overnight in the borough of Venice (as well as residents, workers and all other exempt categories) would always have a guaranteed access to the Square by way of their payment of the city tax would give them the right to a smart band, chip via smart phone, card or any other NFC technology.
It would be necessary to guarantee to those staying overnight a quote of at least 50% of available positions in order to promote this type of ‘Entry Tourism’ as opposed to the growing phenomenon of hit and run groups who arrive enmasse and leave the same day.
This position is easily understandable by the international community. To create a quantitative link between the visitors and the residents. A city cannot receive every day more visitors than the number of its inhabitants, the PERIL IS THAT VENICE WILL LOSE ITS IDENTITY to become an uninhabited theme park.
All the indicators of world tourism numbers point to a consistent increase of daily tourists.
The management of these growing numbers is crucial and critical to the preservation of our city.
Another aspect worthy of consideration due to the increasing numbers of users, is the public transportation system.
There is also an urgent necessity to study a system of access limits regulated with reservations,to enable both tourists and residents the ability to move with comfort. Management of visitors in advance of arrival is crucial to reduce wait times at ticket offices and to enhance the Venice experience. A mandated reservation system to enter the square will reduce the wait time at the ticket booths.
Other attractions could also be managed and incorporated into one pre-purchased ticket and pre-sold together on internet through intermediaries.
WE NEED TO ACT NOW to validate the enormous patrimony of tradition and quality which is still present in the city by means of a trademark of “Real Venice”(made in Venice/Venice Doc). This coveted validation would be managed by the council and accredited board and which will indicate parameters in order to be a part of it.
The trademark of ‘Real Venice’, will trigger a virtuous circle, creating new high-profile jobs. Vendors with approval will be awarded a seal of quality to validate their local and handmade product location or activity.
Finally, this management of tourist numbers offers Venice an opportunity to resolve its financial problems by means of an ‘Entry Fee System’ we can coexist with sustainable tourism for the benefit of all.
Today we are fortunate that with state-of-the-art digital systems we have the ability to advance manage the increasing number of tourists.
Therefore, we are asking everyone to support this project so promises can finally turn into action and we can leave a better Venice than the one we inherited to future generations.
For Travel Information, Photos and Videos on Venice please visit George’s Travel Tidbits: https://www.openeyesopinion.com/venice-italy-the-romantic-city/
[Source: (Marco Scurati) Committee for the Sustainable Tourism in Venice-Media Relations]
[Photo credits: Venice, Italy – all photos by ©George Stewart (Own Work) openeyesopinion.com ]
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