Short Project description 

The pilot managed by the University of Venice (UNIVE) focuses on the development of technological and management solutions that contribute to alleviate the effects of overtourism afflicting the historic center of the island of Venice for years. Located in the north-east of Italy and with its approximately 264.557 inhabitants, Venice is the capital of the Veneto Region. Listed as a cultural World Heritage Site since 1987, thanks to its outstanding cultural and natural landscape which mirrors the centuries-old history of this city built on water, Venice is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world so that it is reached by over 4.600.000 tourists per year. Given its fragile naturalistic and sociocultural ecosystem, the greatest challenge that Venice is facing today is linked to the effects of mass tourism and tourism monoculture that are reflected in a constant decline in the number of residents, problems of overcrowding and congestion, loss of local values and  traditions, detriment of the authenticity of local products and in general a decrease in the quality of the tourist attractions that this beautiful city is able to give to the whole world. Therefore the public debate is currently focused on the fixing of a maximum number of tourists that is bearable for Venice and can guarantee that the city continues to gain a profit from tourism without compromising its own attractiveness and long-term sustainability.

Activities proposed during the testing phase and expected results

For a tourist destination that is affected by overtourism it is increasingly crucial to be equipped with the most suitable tools for monitoring and management of tourism flows.  Driven by this conviction, the UNIVE scientific team within the AlterEco project has focused its pilot on the development of a DSS that, starting from the analysis of the different tourism sub-systems of a destination and based on an innovative quantitative model leveraging big data and analytics, allows to identify the optimal level of tourist pressure that is bearable for a tourist destination and to outline the appropriate tourist strategies. Applied to the specific context of Venice, thanks to the collaboration of the local tourism industry stakeholders who participated in the AlterEco Living Lab, this DSS is establishing itself as a reference point both for limiting the number of accesses to major tourist attractions such as Piazza San Marco and for communication actions in the context of educational tourism initiatives. To this end, in the long term a series of digital graphic presentations, utilizing the information of the DSS to illustrate the unsustainable state of Venice, will be shown by an APP in the major Venetian hotspots in order to inform and educate tourists about their impact on the naturalistic ecosystem and cultural heritage of Venice.