A Tourism Council for a Shared Model of the City

“If the conditions of livability are not optimal, we can create as many university campuses as we want, but the young people will not stay… we require a public policy that is strongly directed at supporting and giving new impetus to living in the city”

24 March 2022

VENICE. “A Tourism Council in Venice, like in Barcelona, to work for a rebalancing”. A new path for tourism after the pandemic. This was the topic Thursday at Ateneo Veneto, at the conference organized by “Tutta la Città Insieme!”, which included business categories, citizens’ associations, universities, professionals, photographers and directors. All agreed on the need to search for new combinations in a particular city like Venice to promote the coexistence of those who visit and those who live there.

The Protagonists

The day was divided in two sessions, explained City Councilor Giovanni Andrea Martini. The morning session offered a debate with experts and representatives from other European cities, in particular Amsterdam and Barcelona, including Architect Franco Migliorini, Professor of Tourism and Geography at the University of Rivori i Virgili, Antonio Paolo Russo, Professor of Applied Sciences of Inholland University, and Aina Pedret of the Barcelona Municipal Tourism, Events and Creative Industries Directorate. The afternoon session saw speeches by experts and representatives of groups from the Venice – Professor in Urban Planning and Engineering at IUAV, Laura Fregolent, Information Scientist Roberta Baroloni, Director Andrea Segre, AVA Director Claudio Scarpa, Emiliano Birkau, President of Confesercenti, President of the photographer’s Circle La Gondala, Manfredo Manfroi, Carla Toffolo, Head of the International Private Committees Office, and Giacomo Menegus of the Ocio Assiciation – all of whom presented proposals.

The Models

Marco Borghi, President of the Municipality of Venice, gave the welcome. What emerged is that “overtourism” heavily impacts the livability of places: the more it becomes the only economic sector the more it determines social polarization and generates a reduction in the availability of housing, in particular in historic centers where there is not the sufficient diversity of the offering between private homes, rental homes and public housing. The setback brought about by the pandemic has reignited the debate over the resilience of tourist cities, but the responses have been different. Where the residential component is still strong, and tourism is not yet the prevailing economy, such as in the case of Amsterdam, or where the local public government seeks solutions that are shared by citizens and other stakeholders, such as in the case of Barcelona, they are delineating forms of regulation or rebalancing of the excesses of tourism. This is more difficult in Venice, a city that has suffered a considerable demographic decline, where tourism is the prevailing local economy, and where there are few investments being made in public housing assets.

Reducing Rents

There are three main proposals. “First of all we believe it is essential – explains Councilor Martini – to institute a Tourism Council in Venice on the model of Barcelona, which represents categories, stakeholders and citizens. To begin to confront the problem of economic diversification, then, we are launching, together with Confartigianato, which is here today with Secretary De Checchi, a concrete proposal: a campaign with which we invite the owners of commercial real estate to adhere to a new ethic and to accept reducing, more or less noticeably, the costs of rents, contributing to the revival of local shops and businesses. Many already are”.

Services

Finally, regarding the possibility of slowing depopulation and attracting new residents, the convention re-launched the proposed law elaborated by Director Andrea Segre, together with Ocio and other associations, to regulate tourist rentals and so maintain quality services in the city. “Venice – reiterated Martini – is unique in the world. However, if the conditions of livability are not optimal, we can create as many university campuses as we want, but the young people will not stay. Nor will professionals who are inclined to stay, maybe to build a family. Therefore we require a public policy that is strongly directed at supporting and giving new impetus to living in the city”. The proposal was to hold a new meeting to take stock of the situation and set up a tourism council as a new start.

Source: Venezia Today


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