Mass tourism is one of Venice's problems, UNESCO says
Mass tourism is one of Venice's problems, UNESCO says | Photo: AFP AFP News

An Italian hotspot is planning to limit tourist groups to 25 people and also ban the use of loudspeakers in its latest effort to combat over-tourism. These latest rules are just an addition to multiple changes that Venice, one of the most visited European cities, has been making to save itself from mass tourism.

Venice's city council last week announced that the use of loudspeakers has been banned as they can "generate confusion and disturbances". As per the new rules, which are set to come into place on June 1, tourist groups cannot stop at narrow streets, bridges or places of passage.

The new rules will apply to the Venice city centre and the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. The latest announced regulations are intended to shield residents from noise and nuisance, the city council said in a press release.

Venice is one of the most famous destinations across the globe and mass tourism has been a major issue for years now for the canal city.

Many residents are leaving Venice, which is home to the famous canal gondolas, Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. Now, the historic centre does not even have 50,000 permanent residents.

On certain days during the peak season, tourists outnumber the locals by more than two to one.

UN cultural agency UNESCO last year highlighted the over-tourism and over-development as some of the big threats to Venice. There were also reports that Venice could be added to UNESCO's list of heritage sites in danger.

UNESCO's experts even blamed the Italian authorities for a "lack of strategic vision" to solve the problems faced by Venice, one of Italy's most charming cities.

The Italian National Statistics Institute has stated that Venice hosted almost 13 million tourists in 2019, while the city is just 7.6 sq km (2.7 sq miles) in size. It is understood that the visitors at the Italian hotspot are expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels in the coming years.

Restricting tour groups to less than 25 people and the ban on loudspeakers will contribute to sustainable tourism, according to Elisabetta Pesce, Venice's city councilor for security.

The latest rule will come into effect two months after the introduction of a trial visitor's fee of £4.29 (€5) for day trippers to the city.

Venice's local authorities announced last September that holidaymakers will have to pay an entry fee to visit the canal city on a day trip, starting in spring 2024. Tourists travelling to the Italian historic city will have to pay £4.29 (€5) to enter on peak days.

The rule isn't a permanent move yet and the Venice authorities will run it as a 30-day "experiment".