Saturday, 2 February 2019

Is Venice drowning under
the rising sea of tourists?

A centrefold spread in the ‘Diocesan Magazine’ for February 2019 (Photographs: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

In my monthly column for two church magazines – the Church Review (Dublin and Glendalough) and the Diocesan Magazine (Cashel, Ferns and Ossory) – I look this month (February 2019) at the growing resistance in many places to mass tourism.

My ideas were developed during a recent visit to Venice, where many people feel the city has been blighted by mass tourism, and that this is a problem compounding the many other problems Venice faces. Some people wonder whether Venice is sinking not just beneath the rising waters of the Lagoon but under the daily tide of day-visitors.

As well as a seven-page feature in the main part of the Diocesan Magazine, the editor has also presented a double-page, centre-fold spread of photographs from Venice.

In his editorial, the editor of the Diocesan Magazine, the Revd Patrick Burke of Castlecomer, writes:

‘Patrick Comerford this month raises the interesting issue of sustainable tourism, looking to the beautiful city of Venice as an example. It is an interesting and difficult problem. On the one hand we learn much from travelling to other places – as the old saying goes, travel broadens the mind; on the other hand, there are the carbon footprints we are being warned about so frequently these days, not to mention the potential damage done to iconic destinations by ever-expanding streams of visitors to them, fuelled by the relatively recent phenomenon of low cost air travel. Views on the issue may vary; but as always Patrick discusses the matter thoughtfully – and illustrates his article with stunning photographs.’

But, more about Venice, its beauty and its problems, over the next few days.

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