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Lonely Venice contemplates a future without hordes of tourists after Covid-19

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Lonely Venice contemplates a future without hordes of tourists after Covid-19

Venice, Italy (CNN) – A few days before Italy was set to lift restrictions in most of the country after being locked since March 10, the streets of Venice began to revive.

There are no tourists here yet. Instead the noise came from a vacuum cleaner and sanitation crew inside the shop who were preparing to reopen on May 18.

But even as the shop owner prepares for anything that looks like a locked Venice, everyone in this quiet tourist town asks the same question: who are they reopening?

Every year, as many as 30 million tourists from around the world go to Venice, pumping up to $ 2.5 billion into the local economy, according to the Italian Ministry of Tourism.

But few Italians, who have never been attracted to a lagoon city like the rest of the world, according to Matteo Secchi, head of the Venessia tour group, said Venice always attracts more international tourists than national ones.

“When the city reopens next week, it will remain as it is now,” he told CNN in Venice, which was empty this week. “Tourists will not really start again until the borders are reopened and international travel is permitted.”

Not everyone wants to go back to business as usual.

Jane da Mosto, who heads the We Are Here Venice nonprofit group, has struggled to make policymakers understand the benefits of sustainable tourism for the city by launching a campaign to safeguard large-scale cruise ships from historic ports and study options to prevent flooding such as cities experiencing seasons last fall.

He saw the pandemic as a turning point for the city, and imagined a new Venice to emerge in the post-pandemic world.

“The new Venice I dream of after this is like now, only with more residents,” he told CNN in an interview in Venice. “The problem for Venice is not the lack of tourists, it is the lack of permanent residents. And with more residents, the city will better reflect the culture of Venice and the beautiful lifestyle that this extraordinary city has to offer and future visitors to the city will be able to enjoy Venice more. “

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Funeral for Venice

Bad past – tourists have blackmailed people out of the city.

MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP / Getty Images

In many ways, Venice has recently become a victim of its own popularity in the deteriorating struggle between overtourism, driven by the popularity and affordability of yachts and low-cost air travel, and the continuing decline of local residents who have fled from tourists. invasion in record numbers.

Venice’s population has declined from 175,000 after World War II to more than 52,000 today.

The Secchi group even helped hold a funeral for Venice in 2009 when its population fell below 60,000. Things have worsened since then.

“This virus shows how tourism has slaughtered the population,” said Secchi, who is also in the hospitality industry. “When the city is locked and only Venice is here, you can see how few we are.”

Last summer, an inner struggle with mass tourism surfaced when the government, worried about the ecological effects of mass tourism on city canals, threatened to ban cruise ships from entering the historic port via St. Mark’s Square, which is a highlight on the Venice porta call.

That is a difficult choice for Venice because large cruise ship terminals employ thousands. The plan was finally canceled when the government fell in August, but the city was left with a difficult choice: to continue as before and risk destroying the city completely.

Then, on February 25, Covid-19 did what Venice couldn’t do: make everything stop.

When the spread of the virus turned the surrounding Veneto area into a hotspot, the annual Carnival celebration was canceled for the first time.

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“The surprise of canceling Carnival really woke everyone up,” Secchi said. “It’s like pulling out a carpet.”

Turning point

Some in Venice want to promote

Some in Venice want to promote “slow” tourism rather than mass tourism.

Pictures of Marco Di Lauro / Getty

Many people in Venice now see this pandemic as an opportunity to do what the city government failed to do in the past: rethink mass tourism and try to create a new type of sustainable tourism for a fragile city.

Melissa Conn, director of the Venice Save Venice office, an American cultural heritage group that works to preserve the city’s vast cultural heritage through conservation grants, sees the pandemic as a turning point. “We use this time in a positive way,” he told CNN in Venice.

They are moving forward between 30 and 40 urgent projects to help after Venice suffered a historic flood last year.

This group usually has to work around tourists, but in their absence, they can work less.

“What will happen later is slow tourism, not mass tourism anymore,” Conn said. “We are confident that we can rebuild, rebuild, and rethink Venice, concentrating on helping the city withhold elements and tourism.”

Conn knew that attracting the sort of mass tourism experienced by Venice in recent years would cause some businesses to close.

“We will see empty shops,” he said. “We need to rethink Venice, to take it to the next level.”

But he is not just talking about designer shops and luxury goods. “We don’t want it to be Monte Carlo,” he said. “We need to focus on the Made in Venice brand, to promote local craftsmen and restore Venice and offer a better quality of life to the people who live here and who visit.”

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He also saw an opportunity in the emptiness caused by the absence of mass tourism due to a travel ban carried out by the pandemic to lure academic programs back to the city.

He imagined a tourist apartment that accommodates students and brings new energy to the city. “We feel more than ever that this is the time,” Conn said. “Saving Venice is a very special mission, but we are in the process now.”

Viruses have revealed how few inhabitants remain in Venice.

This virus has revealed how few inhabitants are left in Venice.

Pictures of Marco Di Lauro / Getty

Dark death

What happens next in Venice is very important for his future.

However, this city has risen from the previous pandemic. The word quarantine was born from the city’s response to the Black Death more than 700 years ago when the city was a strong trading center that brought merchants from all over the world.

When the plague struck, they decided the only way to protect the city was to isolate the incoming ship for 40 days, or quaranta giorni, which came to be known as quarantine, which we now call quarantine.

What happened next in Venice was in the hands of the Venetians, maybe for the first time in several centuries.

Mattia Berto, who runs a theater company in Venice, believes the city can find the right balance.

“Venice has in many ways been a perfect lover, willing to give everyone what you want without asking for any commitment for the future,” he told CNN.

“But now it’s time to rethink what Venice looks like. It’s time to finally resolve the conflict between the two Venues, one for tourists and one for Venetian. It’s time to finally commit to our future.”

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The future of the oceans is in the hands of the youth

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The future of the oceans is in the hands of the youth

“It’s in the hands of the young protect the planet and especially oceans“That was the main message. Youth and Innovation Forum during United Nations Ocean Conferenceon the beach of Carcavelos, Portugal.

The presence on the beach of actor Jason Momoa, known for his roles in Aquaman and the TV series Game of Thrones, is intended to convey to the younger generation the importance of combating climate change.

At the end of this meeting, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa issued a warning: “To be heard and to be important in the climate or in the oceans, they must fight and win in your name. be your main allies, but not the majority.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres gave a speech about my guilt. “Let me start with the words of the President of Portugal to apologize on behalf of my generation to your generation in connection with the state of the oceans, the state of biodiversity and the state of climate change,” António Guterres said.

The Oceans Conference will be held in Lisbon until the end of this week and will be attended by Heads of State and Government from all continents.

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal – Observer

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal - Observer

Portuguese driver Thiago Monteiro (Honda) finished 14th and 15th this Sunday in the two World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races held in Aragon, Spain, which precede the Vila Real race.

The Portuguese rider always rode in the tail, he was hindered by the fact that Honda had more excess weight than his rivals.

“If they told me that I would be in this position, I would not believe it. But the reality is that we have not been able to withstand a number of adversities. From the moment when the pace is much lower than other rivals, we are prepared in advance. It’s heartbreaking,” the Portuguese rider began his explanation after the fourth round of the championship.

The Portuguese rider struggled to find the best balance in his Civic, as did his teammate, Hungarian Attila Tassi.

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“We still had problems, and we could not reach the full potential of the car. It was very difficult, unpleasant and discouraging, especially since we are going to Vila Real and this scenario does not suit me. But we will have to continue to look for our own path and believe that everything will work out, ”Thiago Monteiro concluded.

Belgian Giles Magnus (Audi) and Spaniard Mikel Ascona (Hyundai) won both races on Sunday.

Ascona leads the league with 129 points, while Thiago Monteiro is 16th with 12 points.

The WTCR competition in Portugal will take place next weekend in Vila Real.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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