Italy plans to dramatically reduce the number of tourists visiting the stunning Cinque Terre due to concerns that the UN world heritage site is being damaged by overcrowding.
Approximately 2.5 million tourists visited the five small fishing villages on the Italian Riviera last summer. The national park authority that looks after the Cinque Terre has now announced that this summer there will be a quota system limiting the number of tourists allowed to walk the cliff-top paths that link the picture perfect settlements.
The new system will aim to reduce the number of annual visitors down to a more sustainable 1.5 million.
“It may seem a bit eccentric to want to cut the number of tourists when the general trend elsewhere is to increase tourism, but for us this is now a question of survival,” Vittorio Alessandro, the head of the Cinque Terre National Park, told La Repubblica newspaper.
“No doubt people will criticise us, but we have to reduce the number of arrivals.”
Authorities plan to use a ticketing system to reduce the number of people walking along the paths.
“By the start of the summer we will establish the number of people who will be allowed to access each path each day,” said Mr Alessandro. “If on that day the path is all sold out, visitors will have to postpone their visit to the next available date.”
Authorities are also considering introducing an app which would allow visitors to see which of the villages are the most overcrowded or potentially introduce a ticketing system for the whole Cinque Terre region.
The Cinque Terre is a popular stop off if you are spending a week on a superyacht on the Italian Riviera. If you want to visit less crowded destinations during a private cruise or luxury yacht charter in Italy don’t miss our guide to superyacht owners' favourite Italian destinations.