Sustainable tourism in Venice: why it is necessary now more than ever
Sustainable tourism in Venice is not a recommendation anymore, but a necessity. Venice has lived through coronavirus, as any other city in the world, and it is looking forward to a different approach to tourism. There was also the exceptional high tide in November 2019 and it happened in 2018 too: you have probably seen photos of people almost sinking in Piazza San Marco.
Venice is magical and frail: it is built on a very complicated and marvelous system of wood and bricks. If you are going to visit Venice, you might not know a lot about the acqua alta. Tides are perfectly normal, but the extreme water level, covering all squares and ground floor houses, is not normal and it can be very dangerous in the long term.
There are many factors leading to the worsening of the high tides through the years. One of those is certainly global warming. And each one of us can help with that: you can do little things everyday to make it better and advocate for responsible environmental policies as well.
Another one is the excess of cement in the Veneto region. We have one of the worst environmental situations in Italy. We have seen many times that when you mess with the rivers, this is what you get: floods. It happened everywhere, from mountain villages in the Dolomites to the Venetian lagoon: this is not limited to Venice.
5 things you can do to be a good tourist in Venice
A lot of people ask me: what can we do, as tourists? There are some simple things you can do to be a good tourist in Venice. Here are five points:
1. First of all spend more time in Venice
We have too many one-day tourists, who don’t get to see what the city offers. Even The Economist talks about this trend. A week is a good time to get to know the city. A good way to spend time here is booking experiences with locals, such as the couple photoshoot (that’s me!) or a bacaro tour.
2. Avoid platforms like Airbnb and Booking, choose a hotel and call to book directly
An incredible number of houses in Venice is now rented on Airbnb, thus making it impossible for locals to find housing at a reasonable price. Airbnb is known for pushing permanent residents out of historic city centres and aiding a trend in “Disneyfication” in places such as Venice (read the article on The Telegraph). Booking is a company based in the Netherlands, a fiscal paradise, that evades local taxes. They push the prices down and make the tourism industry worse.
3. Find an osteria or bacaro with real venetian food
Here you can find some tips, and one day I will write my own guide to help you choose. Avoid chain restaurants that are turning Venice into a big mall. Venice has so much to offer for a truly amazing culinary experience, you really don’t need Burger King.
4. Don’t buy cheap souvenirs
If it’s glass and it’s cheap, it’s not made in Venice! Sorry!!! Those shops are replacing all other locals shops, like the shoemaker or the minimarket, places where you can meet real Venetians and have an authentic experience. Less local shops, less inhabitants, and less people to take care of the city. As simple as that.
5. Explore beyond Venice
Start from the islands tour, Murano, Burano, Torcello; then visit the Lido, Venice’s own beach, the place where the oldest Film Festival in the world was born and where you can still meet your favourite movie stars every year at the beginning of September. Then you can do a wine tasting tour in the prosecco area, go ski on the Dolomites, and explore nearby cities like Verona and Vicenza. It will take you less than 2 hours to reach most of these cities and it is really worth it!