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No lingering for a selfie in Portofino

Tourists visiting the picturesque Italian village are now being invited to have a look without stopping. To improve the flow of tourist traffic, the municipality wants to prevent people from lingering in the densest areas

Published: Apr 15, 2023 07:23:14 AM IST
Updated: Apr 15, 2023 11:30:21 AM IST

No lingering for a selfie in PortofinoPortofino, Italy: Diners at a quayside restaurant in the town of Portofino, Italy. Image: Shutterstock

Move along, nothing to see here.... Well, in this particular case, in the small Italian village of Portofino, there are ample attractions that can be included in a day visit itinerary, but tourists are now being invited to have a look without stopping. In order to improve the flow of tourist traffic, the municipality wants to prevent people from lingering in the densest areas.

Various tourist destinations are taking various approaches to tackling issues of overtourism including setting a quota on the number of visitors, such as on the island of Porquerolles in the south of France or reserving a time slot for a visit as needs to be done for some of the famous calanques creeks of Marseille. Machu Picchu in Peru has extended the tourist season as well as limiting visits to a few hours' time in order to spread out the crowds, while Venice has introduced bans on cruise ships and implemented a visitors' tax to enter the historic center.

Around the world, officials have come up with a plethora of measures to ease the flow of tourists in the most popular places. Italy is a country that is particularly aware of the issues that stem from overtourism, whether in Venice, which can receive some 20 million visitors (combining daytrippers and overnight stays) per year; the picturesque Cinque Terre, which receives more than 2.5 million visitors per year; or the small village of Portofino, located southeast of Genoa, which has come up with an original approach to preventing bottlenecks of tourists. The unusual tactic distinguishes it not only as a jet-setters' favorite but also a destination where loitering is prohibited, meaning you can't linger as you take in the sights.

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That's the decision the municipal authorities made in this small town which counts only 400 inhabitants, but which hosts between 6,000 and 7,000 tourists during the high season of summer, reports Italian newspaper Il Post. More concretely, the mayor, Matteo Viacava, has designated two areas as red zones, ie, the most prone to getting crowded, within the small colorful town. In order to avoid bottlenecks, it is warning visitors that they can not stop to linger within these zones. The measure was put into place ahead of the busy Easter weekend. Visitors can not  linger in the area of the piers on the Ligurian Sea, where many boats' passengers often pause getting on and off. The ban runs from 10:30 am to 6pm and will be in place until October 15. Violators face a fine of up to 275 euros or around US$300.

It's not the first time that visitors to the Ligurian region of Italy have been surprised with an unusual ban aimed at tourists. The famous Cinque Terre region, located on the Italian riviera and grouping five villages on the hillside, decided to ban flip-flop and sandal-wearing tourists from venturing onto the hiking trails. In that case, the decision was motivated by safety concerns and aimed at visitors who didn't take adequate precautions and who could slip on the steep paths.

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