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Venice to ban loudspeakers and large groups of tourists

New measures are set to come into effect in June next year

Athena Stavrou
Sunday 31 December 2023 16:26 GMT
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Venice has announced plans to ban loudspeakers and large tourist groups as part of the latest efforts to combat over-tourism in the historical city
Venice has announced plans to ban loudspeakers and large tourist groups as part of the latest efforts to combat over-tourism in the historical city (Annabel Grossman)

Venice has announced plans to ban loudspeakers and large tourist groups as part of the latest efforts to combat over-tourism in the historical city.

The move – which prohibits tourist groups of more than 25 people – was announced on Saturday and is set to come into effect in June next year.

In a statement, the city justified the measures by saying that the use of loudspeakers “may cause confusion and disturbance”, while the tourist group restriction will “respect the fragility of Venice”.

“It is a provision that is part of a broader framework of interventions aimed at improving and better managing tourism in Venice, thus guaranteeing a greater balance between the needs of those who live in the city, either as residents or workers, and those who come to visit the city,” the city’s security councillor Elisabetta Pesce said.

The councillor for commerce, Sebastiano Costalonga, added: “The administration not only wants to give precise rules for respecting the fragility of Venice, the traffic, and coexistence with those who live in Venice, but also give a signal regarding the presence of unauthorised tourist guides, which with this new article will no longer be tolerated.”

The latest measures come after the city introduced a fee for day tourists visiting the city. The €5 (£4.34) per person fee will be applied on 29 peak days between April and mid-July, which include most weekends.

Large cruise ships were also banned from entering the historic centre of Venice in 2021 after a ship crashed into a harbour.

The historic city is just 7.6 sq km (2.7 square miles) in size, but it hosted almost 13 million tourists in 2019 and the number of visitors is expected to rise even further in the coming years.

Damage done to Venice by the extremely high level of tourism previously prompted Unesco to recommend adding the city to the list of world heritage sites in danger in July.

The organisation said the city was at risk of “irreversible” damage from overwhelming tourism, overdevelopment, and rising sea levels due to climate change.

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