Capping tour group sizes may help mitigate overcrowding in Venice. But the city needs to do more.
Venice authorities are limiting the size of large guided tour groups. Over the weekend, the municipal government approved a measure to ban guided groups of more than 25 people starting June 1. Portable loudspeakers used by tour guides will also be banned.
The rules signal to uncertified tour guides that they “will no longer be tolerated,” said commerce councilor Sebastiano Costalonga in the government’s statement online.
The rules will be enforced in Venice’s historic center and on Murano, Burano, and Torcello islands.
Limiting large group tours will preserve Venice’s old infrastructure, reduce overcrowding, and support residents’ quality of life, said tourism councilor Simone Venturini.
Overtourism Puts Venice in Danger
Venice has faced preservation challenges. Overtourism, climate change-induced sea level rises, extreme weather and construction threaten the historic city and its lagoon – the two together are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A July 2023 UNESCO paper recommended Venice and its lagoon be added to the World Heritage’s list of endangered sites. UNESCO ultimately didn’t add them.
No Room in Venice for Italian Tourists
This past summer, overtourism deterred Italians from visiting Venice and other domestic destinations, said travel investor Greg O’Hara at the Skift Global Forum in September. O’Hara’s primary residence is in Italy.
“The experience has changed for them. Capri this summer felt like downtown Cincinnati. It was [full of] everybody running around the place,” said O’Hara. “Second, all those people coming in priced the Italians out of their own market.”
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