Venice's new weapon to tackle overtourism
January 13, 2021 at 10:31
The canal city may have been known as La Serenissima, or The Most Serene, during its centuries ruling the waves as the powerful Republic of Venice.
Before Covid-19 struck, tourists were arriving in often unmanageable numbers, choking the main streets and filling up the waterbuses.
Authorities had tried various measures, from introducing separate residents' lines at major vaporetto (waterbus) stops to bringing in turnstiles that would filter locals from tourists on busy days.
Enter the Venice Control Room.
A state-of-the-art 'control tower'The control room logs everything from water levels to the main routes people are taking around the city.
Julia BuckleyOn the island of Tronchetto, next to the two-mile bridge separating Venice from the Italian mainland, the Control Room opened in September 2020.
Related content Venice to bring back entry fee for daytrippers to combat overtourismSo far so normal.
They're not being monitored for crime, though; they're feeding information to the authorities that will create a profile of the hordes of people visiting Venice.
He clicks on the video feed from the Grand Canal -- the "freeway" of Venice, as he calls it -- to look at the traffic.
Tracking visitors by country and areaThe authorities hope that tracking visitors will help them understand better the flow of tourists.
This is crucial information, because these "hit-and-run" tourists are usually charged with causing the most damage to the struggling city.
On the islands -- where places such as Burano and Murano are popular with tourists -- there are 5,700 people, this Saturday afternoon.