We are here Venice gave comment to The Telegraph, who recently published an article on Venice’s recovery following Covid-19 travel restrictions.
It saddens us that Venice is more often in the news because of its problems like overtourism. The city and its surroundings are uniquely beautiful, culturally rich and fascinating also in terms of the plants and animal life. In the space of a couple of generations the resident population has approximately halved. When you ask about the “balance” between residents and tourists, the first thing I want to say is that it’s a shame more people aren’t living here full time, enjoying Venice, rather than experiencing the place for a few hours or days as tourists do.There is potential for tens of thousands more people to live in Venice and by that I mean the historic city and the other islands: Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido and Pellestrina. Many homes have been converted to tourist accommodation but also there are a lot of empty, abandoned buildings.
The second thing, regarding “balance”, relates to the distinction between tourists and guests. When I hear the word “tourists” it brings to mind low cost travel and the idea of going to places to get something, like ticking a box on a list of places to see before you die (or before they disappear, as is the thought surrounding a concept of Venice). Being a guest is different. When I go to a friend’s house, I drink tea the way she serves it and I learn about her home, ask about the pictures or even the name of her cat. For Venice to treat the people who come here like guests, in other words offer quality and genuine experiences, studies have shown the number can’t outweigh the number of residents.
Photo by Annie Drew.