Venice Grand Canal

Venice Implements New Rules to Combat Overtourism

Venice, the iconic Italian city known for its picturesque canals and historic architecture, is set to implement new regulations to manage the overwhelming impact of tourism. Starting June 2024, the city will ban tourist groups larger than 25 people and the use of loudspeakers by tour guides.

This move is part of Venice’s ongoing efforts to balance the influx of tourists with the city’s fragile environment and the quality of life for its residents. The city council indicated that these measures are aimed at reducing noise pollution, easing congestion in the narrow streets (calli), and promoting better pedestrian mobility throughout Venice, including the popular islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

Elisabetta Pesce, the city official responsible for security, explained that the decision to limit tourist groups and ban loudspeakers is necessary to minimize confusion and disturbances caused by large tour groups. The city is also looking to address the issue of unauthorized tourist guides, as mentioned by the councillor for commerce, Sebastiano Costalonga.

These regulations come after Venice introduced a fee for day tourists. The fee, amounting to €5 per person, will be applied on 29 peak days between April and mid-July, mostly weekends, aiming to regulate crowds and encourage longer stays.

The impact of tourism has been a significant concern for Venice. In 2019, the city hosted almost 13 million tourists. The high levels of tourism have led to challenges, including accommodation issues for locals and damage to the city’s infrastructure. The United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, had even considered placing Venice on its list of heritage sites in danger due to these challenges.

Venice’s measures, including the ban on large cruise ships entering the historic center in 2021 and the implementation of the day-tripper charge, are part of a broader strategy to protect the city’s unique environment and heritage while still welcoming tourists.