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Venice wants to unite with other ports against the dangers of giant steamers. In this photo, the cruise ship MSC Magnifica, on June 9, 2019 in Venice. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

From next September, Venice will introduce a tax at the entrance to the city to try to stem the mass tourism it suffers. It is not the only one to strengthen its legislation in Europe.

Men with masked faces tagging, puncture the tires and hammer the windshield of rental cars. The scene took place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. These acts of vandalism were filmed and broadcast on social media on August 5 by the far-right Arran movement, which campaigns every summer against mass tourism .

For this organization, tourism is synonymous with pollution, denaturing the living environment and rising rents. Beyond the actions of extremist movements, the fight against mass tourism is intensifying, in Spain as in other European cities.

Cities submerged by tourists

In the city center of Barcelona, ​​it's hard to miss the many "Tourist, go home" banners. The Catalan capital, with 1.6 million inhabitants, receives around 30 million visitors a year.

For several years now, the city has witnessed protest movements against tourism. The Barcelonans denounce the endless development of Airbnb rentals, increasing rents, which has the effect of driving them out of the center for the benefit of tourists.

The most striking example is Venice. Each year, the city welcomes nearly 30 million visitors. The Venetians are only 55 000 (one inhabitant for 550 tourists!). For the "Serenissima", a World Heritage Site by Unesco, it is an incessant flow ruining its foundations, increasingly fragile.

How to stop the phenomenon? " The problem is that for decades, politicians have considered tourism to be beneficial, regardless of the real consequences in terms of local benefits, " says anthropologist Saskia Cousin, who specializes in tourism issues. " The problem is not the tourists, but the implementation of regulations. No city would accept an industry without any standard and regulation. But with cruises and Airbnb type platforms, that's what happened . "

Measures to limit the influx of tourists

In the face of the risks arising from mass tourism, more and more European cities are starting to recover. Also in Venice, the images of steamers out of control, in June and July last, had made the rounds of social networks and relaunched the polemics. To avoid new incidents, Venice launched on 1 August an appeal to other European historic ports. The goal: to join forces against the many dangers posed by giant ships.

In addition, the town hall has decided that from next September, each visitor will have to pay a fee , between 2.50 and 10 euros depending on the time of year, which will be used for the maintenance of the city. It should bring in some 50 million euros a year

In Barcelona, ​​following her election as mayor in 2015, Ada Colau said she would act to ensure that her city does not become " a cheap souvenir shop ". Since then, fines have increased against illegal leases (€ 600,000 fine in 2016) in order to regulate the activity.

Those who travel the most, it remains the higher social categories.

Bertrand Réau

Sociologist, tourism specialist

07/08/2019 - by David Pauget Listen

The municipality of Amsterdam in the Netherlands also adopted, in May 2018, measures to stem mass tourism : rentals limited to 30 days per year, increase of tourist taxes, tourist buses banned from the city center.

This last measure has inspired the city of Paris. In early July, the town hall announced that these vehicles were "no longer welcome in the hypercentre ", Moreover, since 1 January 2019, rentals on the platform in the capital are limited to 120 nights per year, and a registration number is required.

1.8 billion tourists worldwide by 2030

The phenomenon is such that places, for a long time little visited, begin to be confronted. In Iceland, the number of tourists has quadrupled in a few years, from 500,000 visitors in 2010 to 2.4 million tourists in 2018. The government has decided to limit access to certain sites such as the spa Blue Lagoon.

" Few places are ultimately concerned, " nuance Philippe Violier, director of the section tourism and culture at the University of Angers. " There are many more places in the world that would like to have tourists. They are always too much or not enough . "

The risk with the measures taken against overtourism, according to Philippe Violier: that they are socially discriminatory. " It is possible to try to anticipate, to act so that the life of the inhabitants is possible with tourism ... but it requires reflection, but we miss it. Solutions can be found on the condition of seeking them rather than condemning block mass tourism which remains a social conquest and a lever for economic development . "

1.2 billion tourists traveled the world in 2016, according to the World Tourism Organization ( UNWTO ). According to the predictions, this figure is expected to increase by 3.3% per year in the next ten years, reaching 1.8 billion by 2030.

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