Few cities are as threatened by the phenomenon of mass tourism than Venice. Every year, more than 30 million visitors come to the city, causing many residents to move away. Those who have remained feel left behind. But they are fighting back.
During high season an influx of up to 130 thousand tourists a day means the city authorities have scant resources to cater for the more mundane needs of residents. A constant flotilla of small boats ferry passengers between city landing stages and giant cruise liners moored in the lagoon. Air quality in Venice is often worse than busy city centers. Within the last generation the number of residents has dropped by nearly a third. The Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square have become the main attractions in this Venetian Theme park providing locals with jobs in the tourist sector, but little else. Rents are sky high, airbnb rules the roost. More and more historical buildings have been taken over by hotels. Shops, bars and restaurant cater almost exclusively to tourists. But residents are fighting back and now there are over 30 local initiatives trying to stem the tides of mass tourism.