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Venice bans new take-away shops for next three years to reduce impact of overtourism

The Independent logo The Independent 15/05/2018 Joanna Whitehead

a flock of birds sitting on top of a sidewalk: Venice. © The Independent Venice. Venice has banned the opening of new takeaway outlets in the city for the next three years as part of an ongoing drive to reduce the impact of mass tourism.

The decision is part of a wider effort to retain the charm of the World Heritage Site, whose many church steps, historic bridges and canal banks are frequently overrun with snacking visitors.

Eating in the ancient streets and piazzas of this celebrated city also creates an abundance of litter and the associated problems of vermin and flocks of seagulls and pigeons. Similarly to some UK coastal spots, large gulls have been spotted swooping down to snatch food out of unsuspecting tourists’ hands.

Venice. © Shutterstock Venice. The regulation was authorised by Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, and covers the outlying islands of Murano and Burano, which are also popular with visitors.

It follows a recent controversial directive to segregate tourists and locals over the May Day weekend, which is one of the busiest times of year. Turnstiles were erected with the aim of dispersing footfall, which local protesters tore down in frustration.

a boat is docked next to a body of water: image © The Independent image “We refuse the idea of having checkpoints to get into the city. We own our city,” said protestor Marco Baravalle in a video which was later posted on social media. “It’s not the mayor who owns the city. It’s not the police or the tourists either.”

“Venice is dying,” he added. “The mayor putting in the turnstiles is demonstrating that he is giving up. He wants Venice to become a city with no inhabitants.”

a boat parked on the side of a building: image © The Independent image Despite the city’s public information campaign #EnjoyRespectVenezia, which encourages visitors to behave “in a responsible and respectful manner” in harmony with local residents, the huge volume of tourists armed with selfie-sticks shows no sign of abating

Concerns about the impact of mass tourism on a city that hosts 60,000 visitors every day continue to grow. Paola Mar, the tourism chief of this global destination, spoke exclusively to The Independent last year, describing the city in the summertime as being “like war”.

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