Population in Venice Drops to An All-Time Low Due to Mass Tourism
Residents in Venice have voiced their concerns about mass tourism in their historic city, which is experiencing record low numbers of the population, with mass tourism being cited as the main factor of the situation, as every year thousands of visitors visit the city centre, making it difficult for long-time residents to remain in the city.
According to Venessia.com, a group advocating for the preservation of Venice for several years, the Venetian population will drop between 50,000 by tomorrow, as the organisation’s leader Matteo Secchi revealed based on data from the civil registry, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“We have been warning about this for years … we don’t want to give up, but no administration has managed to reverse the trend. Tourism is a double-edged sword because you take money, but at the same time, you expel all the activities and space for [the residents],” Secchi told the Guardian.
He also pointed out that the soaring number of tourists and the single-minded focus on tourism are ‘suffocating’ the residents, turning the city into ‘a cash machine’ – a place too difficult to live in.
The main consequences of mass tourism and this approach to the city are higher living costs, a lack of affordable housing options and essential businesses in the city being substituted by tourist souvenir shops.
The city authorities earlier this year launched a programme aimed at attracting young and remote workers to the historic centre, which also was designed to attract new people in order to boost the population, but it didn’t deliver nearly the desired results.
“We need an epochal change and for the council to bring in significant measures, such as offering financial incentives to property owners who, say, only rent to Venetians. The danger is that we are becoming extinct soon. We will be like relics in an open museum,” Secchi noted.
However, the Venice council doesn’t seem to be seriously concerned about the population decline, saying that the number does not reflect workers and foreign students who live in the city or part-time residents.
The city has introduced new limits and charges for visitors in the last two years, with the most recent one becoming effective in January. More specifically, starting from January 16, 2023, visitors who are passing in the city and don’t intend to stay overnight are required to sign up online and pay from €3 to €10 ($5 to $16.80).
Another measure introduced to tourists in Venice includes banning large vessels heavier than 25,000 tonnes from entering the city’s historic centre via the Giudecca canal, with the law becoming effective in July 2021.