VENICE, COVID19 AND THE DESIRE OF A DIFFERENT CITY
One of the most important things that has happened during this lockdown and this terrible period, is the feeling that nothing will ever be the same – and this goes also for the city of Venice and the way it deals with over tourism.
A few days ago my friend travel blogger and tour leader from Venice, Romena Brugnerotto of RomInVenice, asked to the local Tourism Councilor what the plans where, in terms of communication, for Venice. The reply was, I quote: “…In this moment of national emergency we have agreed that it is not appropriate to do what you suggest….”
Both Romena and I believe this is a little bit of a shortsighted reply, considering that everywhere else in the world, and without going too far, that is Treviso, the province next door to Venice, tourist offices are very proactive in their communication towards the world of tourism and visitors.
So, Romena decided to write an Open letter to the Mayor of Venice and the Tourist Office, here is the translation of her post!
You can see the original post here
WHAT CAN WE SAY TODAY ABOUT THE CITY OF THE OVER TOURISM AND HIGH WATER?
While all communication and territorial marketing experts advise destinations and tourist attractions to continue to maintain a relationship with their visitors; while destinations all over the world communicate a simple but effective message “Stay home, we’ll see you soon, we can’t wait to welcome you here”, Venice seems to be lost in its track.
So far at the moment, there is no official communication to describe the city to travellers and to the many people who love it even from afar. By official communication, I mean also messages in English.
The images that are on the web today are that of a beautiful but empty Venice, where some animals, more or less realistically, have returned to live. No, the images of the dolphins in the Grand Canal are not true and even those ones circulating of dolphins in the lagoon were filmed last summer (shame on those who put the wrong date on the video).
At this moment there are no communication plans – this is not a criticism, it is a mere observation: the local authority thinks it is too early to do something or perhaps they are afraid to tell visitors “see you soon” when in the past years there were too many people.
Covid19 slipped in into a trail of unfavourable events: an uninhabitable city, submerged by tourists last year and the extraordinary high water of November 12th 2020.
So what we say about the city today, in order to maintain that thread that binds the hearts of visitors to this city? Why abandon this strong bond, which we know exists, if, however, we know many city lovers return year after year?
What I want to talk to you about today is Venice in all its solidarity during this moment of difficulty – and I hope others will do the same, in the first place the institutions.
This is the city of Generation 90 and the social centres that bring shopping and medicine home to the elderly.
This is the Venice of booksellers who collect orders and take books home on foot.
It is the community of neighbourhood shops that are always present delivering the shopping home. Even if you live in Burano and they must bring it from Venice.
It is the restaurants that, without ever having considered the delivery service, commit themselves to doing it and are thinking already about the Easter menu. All this thanks to synergies; I think of Mestre where deliveries are made by an association of bicycle lovers.
It is the various agencies and sites that offer advice and commit to keeping a list of those who offer delivery services: I am thinking above all of the fine work of 2night, whose posts are always updated with a list of companies which deliver at home, from ice cream to hamburgers and typical Venetian specialties. And obviously in Venice, those who bring wine home cannot go amiss.
It is the Venice of culture that does not stop even from the sofa.
Why should we describe all of this? Because, in my humble opinion, recounting this, what the city is today, even in its difficulties, can help those who love it, be it from 10 km afar or 1000 km, to see the city in a different way from the one proposed in recent years. This image of the city, this narrative must be able to make its way into everyone’s hearts: not the images of mass tourism, not those of high water, or those of empty Venice.
And in order for this narration to be substantiated in reality, the commitment must be that, when visitors will return, they will find this city. This is the concept that is coming from everywhere, around us: nothing will be as before. And us, which city do we want to offer when we finally will start again?
People from all over the world are asking us to know how the city is faring, how we are. This is pretty understandable: I love Spain and the images that I see all over the net, hurt me. I try to read between the lines to find information of how Spanish friends are nurturing hope and solidarity.
It is then, from this deeply different narrative, that this city, which the whole world loves, can be reborn. With courage, trust and new perspectives.