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Leisure At The Local Scale: Venice

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1 Leisure At The Local Scale: Venice

2 Tourism In Venice The historic centre of Venice comprises 700 ha, with buildings protected from alteration by government legislation. There is a conflict of interest between those employed in the tourist industry (and who seek to increase the number of tourists) and those not employed in the tourist industry (and wish to keep visitor numbers down). The optimum carrying capacity for Venice is 9780 tourists using hotel accommodation, 1460 tourists staying in non-hotel accommodation and 10,857 day-trippers on a daily basis.

3 Carrying Capacity This gives an annual total of over 8 million people; a figure that is 25% greater than the number of tourists actually arriving in Venice. However, the pattern of tourism is not even. There are clear seasonal variations, with an increase in visitor numbers in summer and at weekends. Research has estimated that an average of 37,500 day-trippers a day visit in August. A ceiling of 25,000 visitors a day has been suggested as the maximum carrying capacity for the city.

4 Environmental Impact Exceeding the carrying capacity has important implications for the environment and its long-term preservation. The environmental carrying capacity (concerned with preservation) and the economic carrying capacity (concerned with economic gain) have different values, but the 25,000 figure is a useful benchmark. In 2000, the carrying capacity of 25,000 visitors was exceeded on over 200 days, and on 7 days the visitor numbers exceeded 100, 000.

5 Problems The large volume of visitors travelling to Venice creates a range of social and economic problems for planners. The negative externalities of overpopulation stagnate the centre’s economy and society through congestion and competition for scarce resources. This in turn has resulted in a vicious circle of decline, as day-trippers, who contribute less top the local economy than resident visitors, replace the resident visitors as it becomes less attractive to stay in the city.

6 Measures A certain number of measures have been set up to control the huge number of day-trippers. These include… Denying access to the city by unauthorised tour coaches via the main coach terminal. Withdrawing Venice and Veneto region’s bid for EXPO 2000.

7 The Future Nevertheless, the city continues to market the destination, thereby alienating the local population. The excessive numbers of day-trippers have also led to a deterioration in the quality of the tourist experience. This is significant in that it highlights problems affecting many historic cities around the world, especially those in Europe.

8 Activity Write a newspaper report discussing the social, economic, and environmental effects of tourism in Venice… Why is Venice a popular Tourist destination? Do the benefits outweigh the problems? Does Venice need Tourism? What could be done to make Venice more sustainable?

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