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Breaking down barriers – Venetian (turn)style

Venice, Italy

"Police commander Marco Agostini told the paper he welcomed the experiment as a necessary measure."

Governments and agencies that oversee some historic cities have in recent years developed policies to limit the number of tourists that visit them. From Barcelona to Dubrovnik, Venice to Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, the growing global economy has led to dramatic increases in international tourism, threatening to overwhelm historic cities and inadvertently harming the tourist experience. This issue has even spread to national parks in the United States.

Perhaps no other city has felt the impact of heavy tourism than Venice, the Italian medieval city spread across several islands in the Venetian Lagoon. For years, complaints focused on the depletion of local businesses that served Venetian residents that were replaced by tourism-related businesses, resulting in a tourist experience that focuses more on tourism than the historic city itself. Last year, the Italian government moved to ban large cruise ships from entering the lagoon because they dwarfed the low-rise city and seriously affected the viewscape. (The view in the 2015 photo above by Behn Lieu Song, shared here under CC BY-SA 3.0, often is marred by large cruise ships in the canal just beyond the columns)

Recently, Venetian authorities conducted a short-term experiment spread over a long weekend. Saturday, April 28, the city installed turnstiles at key access points to regulate the number of tourists that could enter at some locations and allowing only residents and other regular visitors at others. The final results of the experiment have not been compiled or released, so it is not known how tourists whose way was blocked reacted. But some locals, quite angry with the restrictions, chanted “Free Venice” as they began tearing out the newly installed turnstiles.


Venice installs turnstiles to limit massive tourist flow

By Alistair Walsh

DW News

April 28, 2018

Venice locals tear down turnstiles amid fury after they are segregated from tourists because city is so busy

By Julia Buckley

The Independent

April 29, 2018

Also see

Keeping tourists at bay in the Venetian lagoon—Italy’s new ban on large cruise ships

By International Heritage New Network

November 10, 2017

Cruise ships are being banned from sailing through Venice after locals got sick of them dwarfing their city

By Kiernan Corcoran

Business Insider

November 9, 2017

Venice, Invaded by Tourists, Risks Becoming “Disneyland on the Sea”

By Jason Horowitz

August 2, 2017

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