|Photo by Freeimages.com/Steven Bell|
One of the most popular destinations in Italy will soon limit the number of annual tourists. The stretch of northern coast known as the “Cinque Terre” or “Five Lands” is almost impossibly picturesque; the five, multi-hued fishing villages are connected by hiking trails across the rugged, sea-facing cliffs. (Cars can access Monterosso al Mare, but the other towns can only be reached by train.)
The Guardian reports that 2.5 million visitors flocked to the Cinque Terre last year. Many of these tourists were day-trippers from cruise ships docked at nearby ports. (The town of La Spezia, the gateway to the Cinque Terre, recently started welcoming cruise ships, some diverted from other destinations on the Mediterranean Sea, like Tunisia.) As a result, the local villages are overwhelmed to capacity, and residents worry about the threat to local culture.
The head of the Cinque Terre park has announced that the limit this year will be 1.5 million visitors, with an online tourist ticket system to be put into place. Visitor numbers will be gauged by an electronic device on roads entering the region. There will also be a new app for tourists to monitor in order to avoid certain congested areas.