Assessor of Mobility Renato Boraso: “…if a private interest has money to invest, buys land and asks about building a hotel that conforms to the regulatory plan, how can we tell them no?…the entire metropolitan City can host tourists headed for Venice”
New hotels on the mainland: “Risks for transportation”
By Alberto Vitucci
MESTRE: Mega hotels and hostels on the mainland. Thousands of new beds which are arriving en masse and which are the prelude to a new invasion of the city of water – this time from quite close by. Foreign hotel chains, Chinese, Israeli, Irish and German; giants of tourism are aiming for Venice and are investing hundreds of millions of Euros. Enormous hotels, mostly near the area of the train station, della Vempa, on via Ca’ Marcello. The crowds this will create will be added to the millions of tourists who arrive in Venice for the day and to those who stay to sleep in the hotels and apartment rentals. This brings with it the risk of shutting down transportation. “Thousands more beds being built by the big hotel chains; the mainland is becoming land conquered for Venice”, warns Alberto Cancian, of the Usb Transportation union, “perhaps they do create new jobs, but with what contracts? The transport of commuters and students will suffer setbacks, as well as the work of the Actv drivers. And this is management of the tourist flow?”
The union is inviting the City and the businesses to take time to consider those who will be adversely affected with the sudden arrival of thousands of people who will sleep in Mestre but who want to see Venice. The only way to reach Venice is the tram, the train or the bus.
This is a subject rarely addressed, and never planned for. The hotel development on the mainland now risks suffocating Venice, and to put the connections to it at risk.
“This is not so”, Renato Boraso, the assessor for Mobility, shakes his head, “we have known that sooner or later the pressure for more hotel beds would reach the mainland. The prohibition on change of use for buildings in Venice and the growing demands of tourism and investment must have an outlet”.
But aren’t there now too many hotels and hostels just steps from Venice? “They conform to the regulatory Plan, made by the Cacciari government in 1999”, responded Boraso, “it’s clear that the new areas of expansion, given that Venice is saturated, are on the mainland, at the station and the airport”.
The risk of a transportation collapse, according to the assessor, does not exist. “Perhaps for those who always criticize”, he attacked, “it has escaped them that these new hotels are being built in an area that is near the train station, in Mestre. And the investors have committed to remodel the train platform at their expense. It is also near stops for the tram. I don’t see the risk of overwhelming the buses to reach Venice. What’s more, they have respected the public standard for parking, something which has never been done. They are building, at their expense, to large parking garages with 600 spaces. And close by there is the cycling path”.
But won’t a city of dormitories on the banks of the Lagoon have disastrous effects? “If we make them sleep there it is easier to control them”, continued Boraso, “even if to do this requires a law which today does not exist. We must recall that on the mainland in the metropolitan area three and half million tourists sleep every year. Perhaps this will become four million, but this is not the number one problem”. What is then? “Controlling the flow of the tourists; I repeat, if a private interest has money to invest, buys land and asks about building a hotel that conforms to the regulatory plan, how can we tell them no?”.
From a practical point of view, however, today one discounts choices which were made in the past, and which did not predict the type of tourist pressure that exists now. Therefore, rather than slowing the pace and diversifying in order to limit the flow of tourism that risks the suffocation of the city of water, “finite” and fragile, we head in the other direction. “But we cannot stop the people, we can only regulate the flows”, says the assessor of Mobility, “knowing then that if Trenitalia offers a 30% discount for Easter we have seen the result in recent days: in addition to the tourists on planned tours are also those who come from nearby regions. Here we must act. Knowing however that Venice is our value added. And that the entire metropolitan City can host tourists headed for Venice”.
Source La Nuova Venezia, 6 April 2018