“Gates and a stop on kebab shops are not enough”


Prof. Van Der Borg (Ca’ Foscari): a new algorithm to calculate the sustainable limit for daily visitors

By Enrico Tantucci

Sustainable Venice: there are new numbers for the limits of tourist visits. These will be presented tomorrow at Ca’Foscari, at the Campus of Economy at San Giobbe, in a new study of the so-called “carrying capacity” of the city with respect to the growing tourist pressure. The study was conducted by a “pool” of researchers coordinated by Professor Jan Van Der Borg, instructor of Economy of Tourism at Ca’ Foscari, and has examined the problem for years. The project was started together with Paolo Costa – who had among other things been Rector of the school, as well as Mayor of the city and President of the Port Authority – tracing the history of the estimates for sustainable tourism in Venice.

The first study dates to 1988, when Costa and Van Der Berg fixed the maximum capacity for daily visitors to the city at 20,250 tourists, equivalent to 7.5 million per year. Another study by Costa, presented to UNESCO in 2002, raised the values somewhat, establishing a limit of 22, 000 daily visits, for a total of 8 million per year. The last study done dates to 2009 and was done by Coses – the now defunct economic and social Consortium that worked for the then Provincia di Venezia. This study places the daily limit for visits at 35,000 tourists, for an annual total of 13 million.

“We are updating the new calculations for the limits, which we will announce tomorrow” explained professor Van Der Borg “but two things are, however, already certain. The first is that with respect to our initial estimate the sustainable number of tourists for Venice must certainly be revised upwards, because in the meantime the number of available beds has risen, and the capacity of public transportation has also grown. The second thing is that the current number of tourists in the city is definitely too high compared with sustainable levels and must be reduced with measures that have real efficacy, related for example to a mechanism of reservations. I’m not sure that the gates introduced by the City at the entrance of Piazzale Roma and the station or the ban on opening kabab or take-away food vendors are the kinds of measures that can serve to limit the number of excursionist tourists arriving in the city – these tourists are the real problem in Venice”.

The updated research of the tourist “carrying capacity” of Venice is part of the European project Alter Eco, which began in 2016 thanks to 2.2 million Euro in financing from the EU, and which involves study of sustainable tourism in other cities as well such as Valencia, Malaga and Dubrovnik, among others. “But in our workshop, beyond presenting the data” concludes Van Der Borg “we will also discuss the consequences for tourism policy in the current Venetian system”.

Source: La Nuova Venezia 14 June 2018

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