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Venice wants to ensure that it has a plan in place for the tourism surge that will occur as soon as the pandemic has ended.

A New Model for Tourism in Italy

The Mayors of Venice and Florence, two of Italy’s most popular destinations, have published plans to help rebuild the vital component of their economies, based on a new model of tourism. The initiative is set out in a nine-page booklet, where the two cities urged the government to provide more powers to regulate the tourist industry. Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence, spoke of the need to look ahead to a new model of tourism linked to enhancing, promoting and protecting cities of art. The ideas and plans shared in the booklet are not exclusive to the two historic cities, but could also be adopted by other parts of Italy. Nardella added, “As soon as the borders reopen after the coronavirus emergency, the country must be ready.”

The mayors wrote that they wanted to enhance security and protection of the cities by providing immediate fines for visitors caught vandalizing the cities’ streets or monuments, as well as increased video surveillance. Also on the list were better regulation of tourist rentals and the limitation of some commercial activities aimed at tourists. The latter was with the intent of preserving the craft and neighborhood shops in the historic centers. “The idea was born after listening to the speech of Prime Minister Draghi on the day that he took office, in which he touched on the theme of the cities of art and the need for a new model of tourism,” said Nardella.

Crowds outside the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro emphasized that as ambassadors of Italy in the world, Florence and Venice must lead the way. Tourism is expected to continue to grow in the future years and both cities intend to have protocols in place to deal with the increased stream of visitors. In Venice, increased tourism has led to the lagoon city’s struggle with pollution from the large number of cruise ships docking in the canals. Before the pandemic, the centers of Italy’s most famous cities were often inundated with tourists and in recent years brought in a range of measures aimed at reducing the ill-effects of mass tourism. Authorities, tired of what they saw as bad behavior from tourists, had cracked down on offenses ranging from outdoor snacking in central Florence to cycling shirtless and brewing coffee in the street in Venice.

Raise your hand if you cannot wait to travel to Florence.