Italy tightens tourism regulations
In recent years, many European nations have faced the problem of overtourism. Popular destinations such as Barcelona (Spain), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), etc. are all under pressure and significantly impacted.
Therefore, the governments of these countries started to implement some soft rules, for instance, limiting the number of beds provided by hotels, which can help control the number of rapidly increasing tourists.
Fines of maximum 500 euro
However, Venice (Italy) – one of the most famous destinations for tourists – has decided to take stronger actions, tightening tourism regulations as well as introducing new regulations in order to control tourist activities.
Until now, according to statistics, Venice welcomes more than 60,000 tourists daily, an overwhelming number compared to the city population of around 55,000 people. This has caused so much trouble for the local residents while generating continuous tensions for the city officials.
In this May, Venice piloted a number of strict rules regarding foreign tourists’ activities. They have been revised and supplemented with new laws to thoroughly prevent acts which harm public facilities as well as affect the lives of the local residents.
Punishment measures show the city authority’s tough stance against tourists with inappropriate behaviors. Accordingly, small violations will be fined at 25 euros, while more serious ones will result in a maximum fine of 500 euros.
Under the new rules, visitors may be penalized for acts such as littering or eating snacks on the ground in public places. Even some activities such as sitting or lying in front of shops, historical sites and bridges can also cause visitors to pay the equivalent penalties. In addition, swimming, bathing and wearing clothes that are not suitable such as bikinis in the city are also completely banned. Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., the government of Venice also prohibits drinking alcohol, even when outdoor or weekend festivals take place.
Many “special areas”
Venice also begins to propose some "special areas" in urban areas which can be used to perform restricted activities. Visitors can identify these special areas thanks to the equivalent black and white signs. These areas are often connected to railway stations, airports, and transit stops of some other means of public transport such as ferry terminals and car parks.
In contrast, Venice also categorizes a number of places on the "specially preserved" list including churches and buildings of the Mestre fortress defense system, the central park, the Ferretto square and surrounding areas, the Mercato Square, Sant'Antonio and many other locations.
Occupying public areas also belongs to the banned list. Accordingly, the new law emphasizes that: "No individual or organization is allowed to encroach on public land at the same location for more than two days." This new regulation is aimed directly at tourism centers that often intend to organize small camps or party nights to serve tourists.
In addition, self-sufficiency group tourists in Venice are also prohibited from carrying out some of the following specific activities: camping in front of stores; organizing a picnic; feeding pigeons; perform trading activities on the street; cycling in the city center; attaching the key chains to the bridge walls or even standing still on the bridge.
The new codes of conduct, known as Daspose, are one of the most powerful steps to control the overwhelming number of tourists arriving in Venice annually as well as to eliminate inappropriate behaviors.
Venice is also currently working to impose a fee on day-trip travelers which is expected to be implemented in September this year. Accordingly, every backpacker to Italy will be subject to a standard tax rate of 3 euros. This fee is expected to increase to 8 euros from January 1, 2020, and to 10 euros in peak season.
In recent times, many visitors to Italy who were aware of important changes have been greatly affected. Last month, two German tourists received an administrative fine of up to 1,000 USD and were deported, because they used a stove to make morning coffee on the steps of a 400-year-old monument. This action by visitors was said to violate the regulations on city center conservation and development, according to new and amended regulation.
By: Elijah Fleming