Overtourism: where will it take us? The sustainability of mass tourism debated at ITB travel show Berlin 2018

At the ITB travel trade show in Berlin overtourism is hotly debated. Majorca, Venice and Berlin — they all suffer from the excesses of tourism, even though tourists are an important economic factor.

At the start of a New Year plans are often made and wishes noted, including the so-called bucket-list, featuring desired holiday destinations. These are places or sights which one should definitely have seen in a lifetime.

At the end of last year, the American travel guide Fodor reversed that list for the second time. They listed the top 10 places not to visit in 2018, including the Galapagos Islands, the Chinese Wall, Amsterdam and Venice. A similar list by CNN in January also included Italy’s Cinque Terre, Barcelona, Bhutan and also Venice.

Avoid Venice? Respect Venice?

There is no other place that is visited so often by foreigners and is yet so unknown, author Thomas Watkins already noted back in 1788.

Mass tourism of recent years has taken its toll on the lagoon city. Particular annoyances are the ever growing cruise ships that often unleash thousands of travelers at once on the Piazza San Marco. Overall, some 22 million visitors flock to Venice annually. A process of displacement with consequences: The inner city now only counts some 55,000 inhabitants, compared to 175,000 back in 1951.

Venice does not want to lose the income generated by tourism, so the city is attempting to control the rush of visitors. In future the big sea cruisers are to berth outside of the historic center and travelers are to be guided to lesser known sights. Supported by the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the city launched in 2017 a campaign under the hashtag #EnjoyRespectVenezia, which appealed to conscientious visitors.

Among the 12 recommendations and rules for the responsible visitor the first one is: Discover the hidden treasures of Venice in the least visited places. This is followed by the advice to explore the islands in the lagoon and to taste local products and enjoy typical Venetian cuisine.

Read full original article at DW.com.