Venice at point of collapse

Venice could support a maximum of 52 thousand visitors per day, but the current number is actually 77 thousand – of which are 57,500 ‘excursionists’ daily

By Enrico Tucci.

VENICE. Venice could support a maximum of 52 thousand visitors per day, but the current number is actually 77 thousand, for a yearly total of almost 28 million tourists, compared to the 19 million which would be tolerable.

These are the updated estimates of the “carrying capacity” of the historic city, presented yesterday at the School of Economy in San Giobbe by the team of mathematicians and economists from Ca’ Foscari, Nicola Camatti, Silvio Giove and Dario Bertocchi, coordinated by professor Jan Van Der Bork, teacher of Economy of Tourism at the Venetian academy, who has studied the problem of tourist flow for years.

The calculations were derived from an algorithm that examines factors such as hosting capacity, restorations – it was calculated that around 800 projects are underway in the city – public transportation, culture, waste, parking and other categories related to tourism, including also the maximum hosting capacity of Piazza San Marco – where all the tourists want to go – and which updates the only complete study previously undertaken in 1988, which was done based on data collected by professor Paolo Costa and by engineer Elio Canestrelli. This report established limits that were far lower, in a city not yet transformed by tourism: 20,800 daily visitors compared to the 52 thousand now considered admissible and around 8 million visitors annually compared to the 19 million considered supportable by the new studio, given the growth in the number of beds, transportation and services in the meantime, all directed at the tourist demand.

But one thing is clear: every day 20,000 more tourists than the city can support arrive and that, above all, in the last ten years we’ve witness an exponential growth in these numbers in the absence of serious measures to control the number of tourists arriving.

An ideal mix of the 52 thousand daily visitors seen as admissible according to the study of Van Der Borg’s “pool”, 15,500 (30%) would stay in hotels, 22,000 (42%) in non-hotel lodgings and tourist rentals, and only 14,600 would be excursionists (28%).

It’s really this last number that is the most “blown out” by the actual estimates which instead speak of 57,500 excursionists per day. These are the real problem. As far as the system of hospitality, according to the estimates in the study – which was financed as part of the European project Alter Eco, which is dedicated to the study of sustainable development of tourism in Mediterranean cities – 65% of the beds available are in hotels or related, and 35 percent are tourist rentals mainly related to Airbnb. Airbnb is rapidly growing in Venice and with over 4,000 available beds it has already overcome non-hotel locations such as bed and breakfasts and inns.

The study also identified the average expenditures of tourists and visitors to Venice, though these numbers are in the process of further updating. The report shows tourists staying in hotels will spend around 210 Euro a day, those who stay in non-hotel lodgings around 180 Euro, and those visitors identified as excursionists, instead, will spend around 60 Euro a day.

Source: La Nuova Venezia, 16 June 2018

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