VENICE, ITALY - Venetian authorities are considering the introduction of a tourist limit on the city in an attempt to prevent overcrowding and the degradation of the city's heritage sites.
A source from the office of Venice's tourism councillor, Paola Mar, explained to The Local that the city has not yet made its definite decision regarding the matter, but is taking it into consideration.
The Italian city is considered to be one of the continent's hottest tourist attractions, raking in more than 20 million tourists per year. With an land area of only 160 square miles, the city's 260, 000 permanent residents have begun rallying against the government.
The urgency for the tourist cap arose after the September 2013 protest by locals who crowded the lagoon with gondolas and other small marine vehicles so as to prevent the passing through of cruise ships.
In August 2014, city protesters also began adorning the streets with posters and signs marked with the English words, "Tourists Go Away!" The signs were meant to mark blame on the city's tourists for the area's destruction.
In July 2016, Venice was issued a warning by the United Nations, stating that the city would be placed on the UNESCO's list of endangered heritage sites, should the country continue the passing of large cruise ships through the lagoon in 2017.
Although the city is legally unable to close off the country from visiting tourist, the Venetian government has begun providing solutions to appease the general population. In April, the government passed a "locals first" policy on water buses and other forms of public transportation.
According to La Stampa newspaper, Dorina Bianchi, Italian Deputy Minister of Culture, has announced that the government is currently coming up with a strategic tourism plan with the intention of reducing the overcrowding issues. The idea is to redirect the tourists of the most heavily visited sites and leading them to alternate destinations.
Depending on the approval of the proposed tourist cap, it is expected to take effect in early 2017. It is the hopes of the government that it will limit the rise in tourism figures which are expected to rise by 20 per cent in the next year.