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Italian hiking trails to be one-way only


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“The measures will apply to people who don’t spend the night in a hotel,” said Silvia Donaggio, the head of a local branch of the Association of Authorised Tourist Guides.

There will be spot checks by Venetian officials to make sure people have paid the fee and downloaded a QR code to their mobile phones.

“We are the trailblazers for the rest of the world,” Simone Venturini, Venice’s councillor responsible for tourism, said recently.

He said the “contribution to access”, as Venetian authorities are calling it, was an experiment aimed at reducing tourist hordes and preserving the social fabric of normal life in Venice.

Proceeds from the scheme will help to pay for the upkeep and cleaning of the city, he said.

Overtourism an issue elsewhere

Italy has struggled for years to manage overtourism. Florence has clamped down on the number of Airbnb properties amid concerns that the historic city centre is losing too many locals.

In upmarket Portofino, not far from the Cinque Terre coastline, the mayor introduced a local law that bans tourists from lingering too long in the cobbled piazza of the town.

He said the regulation was needed to put a stop to “anarchic chaos” as selfie-taking visitors clogged the streets and made life difficult for locals trying to go about their business. Anyone caught loitering for too long risks a fine of 275 euros.

Bernabò Bocca, the head of a national hotel owners’ association, said a distinction should be made between tourists who stay in places for a few days and daytrippers who come and go without contributing much to the economy.

“The term ‘overtourism’ risks demonising the tourism sector. People are confusing tourists, who stay for a few days, with visitors who arrive in the morning and leave in the evening,” Mr Bocca, the president of the Federalberghi association, told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

“The explosion in short-term rentals has created a totally uncontrolled increase in the amount of accommodation on offer. Tourism brings benefits to the economy, but it needs to be regulated.”

He is in favour of the €5 entrance charge for Venice.

“We don’t think it is a bad idea at all. Day-trippers are visiting an open air museum (when they come to Venice) and there should be no such thing as a free museum,” he said.

But he questioned how the authorities will be able to make sure that people pay the fee. “It won’t be easy – you can’t put up barriers at the entrance to cities.”

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