Bruges restricts tourism "not to become Disneyland"

Bruges restricts tourism not to become Disneyland

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Angra do Heroísmo
White Castle
vegetable garden
Thin tip
Santa Cruz das Flores
Viana do Castelo
Real Village

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Belgian medieval city decided to restrict the number of visitors to the historic center. Fewer cruise ships per day and cut in guided tours are part of the measures approved by the municipality

With room for five cruise ships, the port of Bruges will dramatically slow down its activity. As part of a package of measures approved by the municipality to restrict the number of tourists in the heart of the famous Belgian city, only two cruise ships will now be able to dock daily in Bruges.

In addition, guided tours for one day will no longer be advertised by tour operators.

"We have to control the influx [of visitors] more if we don't want to become a complete Disneyland," said city president Dirk De Fauwn, who was elected last year, quoted on CNN,

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In addition to the limit of two cruise ships per day with permission to dock, the companies that operate them are advised to operate on weekdays, instead of at weekends.

With these measures, the municipality hopes to reduce the tourist pressure on the city and its medieval historic center, where the current number of visitors is already three times higher than the number of residents.

Bruges is the latest European city to take measures to restrict tourism and, therefore, try to control the damage that excess visitors are likely to cause, such as excess garbage, wear and tear on heritage, the mischaracterization of local life and the population emptying due to commercial and real estate pressure. But others have taken steps in the same direction before.

One of them is Amsterdam, which in March this year decided to ban tours to the Red Light District, famous for its storefronts with women selling sex, to reduce the number of people in its historic center.

In May, Turismo da Holanda also stopped promoting the city as a tourist destination, given the pressure it is already subject to. Amsterdam currently receives 18 million tourists a year, that is, 18 times its resident population, and the prospects are that that number will increase to 42 million by the end of the next decade.

In the same vein, Rome banned bathing in its famous fountains in November last year, as well as photographs alongside false centurions - there are many at the Colosseum, in search of easy euros with the unwary tourists - who started to give a fine .

The sale of drinks on the street was also banned by the Roman authorities, in an attempt to control plastic cups on the floor.

In the last two decades, the great fall in travel costs has opened up the possibility of traveling to a much larger number of people and global tourism has grown enormously. But this democratization has a dark side: the mass of visitors, which will continue to increase, risks destroying the identity and uniqueness of the places, which are sought after by tourists, precisely because of their uniqueness and identity.

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