Travel News

Venice bans loudspeakers and caps tour group numbers in overtourism battle

Simon Calder’s Travel

Venice has introduced new rules banning the use of loudspeakers and limiting tour group sizes as part of ongoing efforts to tackle overtourism in the city’s historic centre.

The move prohibits tourist groups of more than 25 people from sightseeing around the Unesco-listed canals.

Plans for the measures were announced in December. At the time, officials said that the use of loudspeakers “may cause confusion and disturbance”, while the tourist group restriction would “respect the fragility of Venice”.

Listening to music on loudspeakers and large groups of tourists has been prohibited since the rules came into force on 1 June.

These measures will also apply to the islands of Burano, Murano, and Torcello.

The city’s councillor for commerce, Sebastiano Costalonga, said: “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.”

An estimated 20 million tourists visit Venice annually, in comparison to around 50,000 permanent residents in the centre.

Venice security councillor Elisabetta Pesce said last year that the new provisions are “part of a broader framework of interventions aimed at improving and better-managing tourism” and sought a “greater balance” between residents and visitors.

Venice has heeded Unesco warnings of “irreversible damage” to its historic centre with a series of measures to reduce tourist footfall.

In April, Venice became the first city in the world to charge admission for daytrippers with a €5 (£4.30) entry fee to access the famed centre between 8.30am and 4pm on 29 days in spring and summer.

The Italian city also banned cruise ships from docking in the lagoon in August 2021 after an incident where a cruise liner hit a dock.

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