The Fight of City Residents against Mass Tourism
Venice, Amsterdam and Barcelona are among the cities which are the most affected by an unbridled tourism. A permanent congestion of the historic city centres poses a grave threat to cultural property. But that's not all. Faced with this constant pressure residents settle in the outskirts of these cities or even decide to move in other places. The most emblematic example of this reality is Venice. Its population has dropped from about 175,000 in the 1950s to 55,000 today. It is estimated that more than 25 million visitors invade the city each year. In a situation like that, how could the Venetians protect the highly degraded and fragile environment of their city? Particularly as the municipal authorities do not seem to have a clear strategy to stem this flow of tourists. It is true that they cannot even manage the comings and goings of the huge cruise ships which penetrate into the heart of the city. Amsterdam, with a population of approx. 800,000 received 7.5 million visitors in 2016. And their numbers is increasing by more than 5% a year. The residents have complained for a long time about uncontrolled tourist flows. As a result, the city authorities have banned the construction of new hotels and have regulated the renting of holiday apartments. Furthermore, the cruise terminal should be moved outside the city centre. Barcelona, with a population of 1.6 million is the third example of such tourism which is growing out of control. It is estimated that 9 million people stayed in hotels and another 9 million in holiday apartments last year. Here too, the authorities have reacted to public concerns about mass tourism. The new legislation imposes a moratorium on building new hotels and aims to limit the number of holiday rental flats. Resolving the issue of mass tourism will be very difficult to deal with. And in an age of globalization, can we really regulate tourism?
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