Italian Officials Announce Plans To Limit Number of Tourists in Cinque Terre

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Want to visit the Cinque Terre this year? You’ll have to take a number. This summer, Italian officials plan to limit the number of tourists who can visit the group of five Italian villages and implement a lottery for admission. The country hopes that the new measures will allow eager tourists to sight-see while still preserving the historic area.

The beautiful villages that make up the Cinque Terre—Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare—are beloved for their stacked, bright houses and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. The region has been designated both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national park.

Some of the villages are car-free and only accessible via train or boat, but that does not deter hordes of international tourists from making the trip each year. Last year alone, about 2.5 million visitors descended upon the little towns, which are not prepared to support such traffic.

Park director Vittorio Alessandro told Italian newspaper la Repubblica that regional leaders had decided to cap the number of tourists at 1.5 million—which is still a huge figure relative to the size of the Cinque Terre.

To enforce the new regulations, park staff are outfitting roads to the region with devices to measure traffic. Once those hit 1.5 million, the roads will be blocked off. But instead of a first-come, first-serve system, the government has instituted a lottery and will be selling tickets. They’re also creating a mobile app that will show visitors the congestion in each village in order to encourage tourists not to clump in certain areas.

“We will certainly be criticised for this, but for us it is a question of survival,” Alessandro told la Repubblica.

[h/t The Guardian]