After a long reflection about what to write about, I have decided to discuss over today one of the most known European tourist cultural destinations – Venice. It has left quite a big impression and let me some stuff to think over. When I visited this place for the first time last year in August, there was a dream place, the ancient citiy full of canals, brigdes, mighty strucures, shops, restaurants, rooms for sleepover, ice cream stands, coffeehouses – a perfect destination for spending vacation, the most romantic city, as they say. But I would mostly focus on the last five things I have mentioned. Venice, once home for it’s inhabitants, today a cradle of worldwide tourism in Europe.

Venice may well be, for its size and population, the most touristed city on the planet, but even if it falls somewhat short of this dubios honor in terms of hard nubers, it still seems to enjoy a special status, in the mind of many, as the epitone of the tourist experience. (Davis, Marvin 2004: 1)

The touristic value of a modern community lies in the way it organizes social, historical, cultural and natural elements into a stream of impressions. (MacCannell 1976: 48) Venice has all of the mentioned potentials and on my opinion, they are very well used one with another. Today, these facts should be the whole essence of modern tourism.

Many of the visitors/…/ have so learned to associate Venice with the touristic ideals of fantasy, pleasure, and – above all – romance that they seem to find it hard to concieve that this place exists or ever existed for any other purpose than bringing enjoyment to themselves or other outsiders. (Davis, Marvin 2004: 1) People often forget that places like Venice gave home to many people who were there before this tourist ‘fever’ begann to happen. In earlier ages, visitors came here mostly for the same reasons that outsiders always come to cities – for profit, politics, or refuge. (Davis, Marvin 2004: 2) Today it is also so called city with its everyday people and locals, not just a statue in ‘natural museum’. They have their own culture, habits, rituals, which are often presented in another way with many extras to make things more attractive for visitors. As Reid says »In many instances, money values have become a surrogate for life values«. This refers especially to those who are ‘inventing’ new traditions for economic reasons, for better earnings.

The societal aspect of tourist attractions is hidden behind their fame, but its fame cannot change their origin in social structure. Given the present sociohistorical epoch, it s not a surprise to find that tourists believe sightseeing is a leisure activity, and fun, even when it requires more effort and organization than many jobs. (MacCannell 1976: 55) Along with handcraft and specialized industrial worh, there are other occupational attractions including glass blowers, Japanese pearl divers, cowboys, fishermen, Geisha girls, London chimney sweeps, gondoliers and sidewalk artists. Potentially, the entire division of labor in society can be transformed into a tourist attraction. (MacCannell 1976: 54)

The intense of affection that Venice arouses in the world public has brought its own price, however. Something like thirteen to fourteen million outsiders currently go there every year (Davis, Marvin 2004: 3) The tourists come, many of them with an ideal and a cliche battling in their heads, and hope that their ideal, their fantasy of Venetian, will somehow win out /…/ (Davis, Marvin 2004: 4)

This kind of mass arrivals to such sensitive place can cause many serious problems. When I was on my way to Venice, the tour gude told us, that because of the sensitive construcion of the wooden bases, there is a speed limit for boats and ships which is very low. I think, though it is probably not possible, that they should also limit the number of visitors per day, because » turism often brings with it large numbers of tourists producing human waste, which is often released into the environment«. (Reid 2003: 175)

People trudging around an environmentally sensitive area may have just as devastating an effect on the landscape as would the agricultural cultivation of that land. (Reid 2003: 176) Because of great amount of tourist on such a small unnatural surface can be a big ecological problem if we look from ‘non cultural’ aspect. More boats, more rubbish, more used up clear water and so on. Reid says that » there are fundamental decisions that society must make, when confronted with competing interests in use of resources.« (Reid 2003: 174)

So we said ‘Come on, let’s do the Carnevale as they used to do it once’. (Filipucci 2002: 75) Yes, everything right and nice, as long as it is just like they used to celebrate it once. Although I have not seen the Carnevale live, we could have a chance to see it on television. It is pretty much attractive for the audience. And why don’t we go to Venice and see it live? Here we are – a perfect event for tourist offers and agencies all around the world. »By encouraging competitive display, the organisers seek to develop Carnevale as a spectacle and a tourist attraction.« (Filipucci 2002: 79)
In Venice, Carnevale was, is an will stay a big part of their own heritage, as long as it would stay in rihgt hands, as long as organisators and tourist agencies won’t change its tradition with the intention of making it more attractive for visitors and tourists.

Although it is undeniable that tourism based upon cultural resources is an activity that has conceyed demonstrable economic and social values, its very succes has generated costs that can no longer be dismissed as a marginal and acceptable inconvenience. The point has been reached in the development of this form of tourism where continued succes threatens the quality and even continued existence of the resources upon which this other uses of them depend./…/ This multiuse of the same heritage attractions for different purposes may lead to a mutual reiforcement or to conflict in the use of resources. (Ashwort, 1993: 13-16)

Anja J.

 

 

Sources:

Ashwort, Gregory
1993 ‘Culture an Tourism: Conflict or Symbiosis in Europe?’ in ‘Tourism in Europe. Structures and Developments’. Wallingford: Cab International.

Davis, Robert C., Garry R. Marvin
2004 Venice the Tourist Maze: A Cultural Critique of the worlds most touristed city. Berkleyland Los Angeles: Universiti of California press, London: Universitiy of California Press.

Fillipucci, Paola
2002 ‘Acting local: Two Performances In Northern Italy’ ‘in ‘Tourism: Between Place an Performance’ eds. Simon Coleman and Mike Craney. Berghahm Books.

MacCannell, D.
1976 (1989 2nd edition) The Tourist: A New theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken Books.

Reid, Donald G.
2003 Tourism, Globalization and Development: Responsible Tourism Planning. London: Pluto Press.