Livorno tops in Italy for risks from overtourism

A map of overtourism in Italy which places the province of Livorno in fourth place in the country for invasion levels. Livorno is in fact among the seven Italian places where a research by «Demoskopika» defines the risks associated with excess tourism as «very high». The indicators are tourist density, accommodation density, the impact of tourism on the lives of residents and on infrastructure, the rate of use of available beds and the per capita production of waste.

Livorno, looking at Tuscany, is in the lead in almost all these rankings, which are not always comforting if the director of «Demoskopika», Raffaele Rio, declares: «A little conscious and sustainable management of tourist flows rThere is a risk of transforming a great opportunity for cultural enrichment and economic development into a worrying threat for our local systems.”

The most striking data is precisely that of tourist density with the province of Livorno recording 7,791 visitors per square kilometre.or. Florence, which is sixteenth in the general national ranking, immediately behind Grosseto, stops at 3,104 (but has a higher rate of use of beds). The distance between the provinces of Livorno and Prato in terms of per capita waste production is impressive, with the former at 50.4 kilograms and the latter at just 2.7.

Demoskopika’s research, however, finds its limit in the analysis on a provincial scale, which does not take local dynamics into account. If the metropolitan city of Florence in fact has large mountain areas deserted by large flows, but sees an extraordinary concentration in the narrowest square kilometer of its historic centre, on the Livorno front, the territory is made up of a narrow coastal strip frequented by beach resorts, while it is the capital itself that is far from saturation. Despite the cruise passengers.

Mayor Luca Salvetti explains it: «The tourist district to which we belong, Livorno, Collesalvetti and Capraia, saw a 38% increase in attendance in 2023 compared to pre-pandemic. But for us this does not represent a sustainability problem, if anything we must increase the number of beds which are not enough. Today we have 650 thousand cruise passengers per year, much less than 10 years ago when they reached one million, but the positive difference is made by MSC, which has decided to establish a “head” cruise here per week: previously all ships stopped for a day to take tourists to Florence and Pisa. And in Livorno there was nothing left. Today we have tourists, especially Americans, who arrive by plane in Pisa and stay here for a night or two to sleep before boarding.”

If anything, the problem is in the seaside resorts which are packed in the summer and which push Raffaele Rio to hope for «temporary and numerical limitations for access to the most at-risk places, together with strategies to promote lesser-known alternative destinations, as well as encouraging off-season tourism».

In the summer of 2024 there should not be a full house of Americans. Gianfranco Lorenzo, from the Center for Tourist Studies, explains it: «In the year of the American presidential elections, it is an established fact, American tourists tend to stay closer to home and choose Mexico more than Europe. We are not sure why, but we believe it is a psychological mechanism linked to political uncertainty.”

On the other hand, the Asian market restarts, with the Santa Croce area in Florence witnessing the return of Eastern groups: «After an unfavorable economic situation, Korean tourism has restarted. But we can also see the first signs of recovery from Japan and China.”

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