Cinque Terre, in northwestern Italy, on the Ligurian Sea, is at the top of many traveler’s bucket lists. A quick Google search will yield thousands of stunning photographs of this magical place. Cinque Terre is made up of five quaint and insanely picturesque Italian villages by the sea- Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Monterosso, Manarola, and Corniglia. Because these villages are so stunning and everyone wants them gracing their Instagram feed, they are overcrowded with tourists. Ecotourism- a type of tourism that aims to support conservation efforts- is the best answer to what over-tourism is doing to the rugged coastal environment (and the local’s collective sanity).
Enter, LivItaly, a tour company devoted to preserving the delicate ecosystems and natural environments of Italy while at the same time, providing expert travel tours to visitors. All your bookings and reservations are online, with no paper mess because LivItaly is actively trying to improve waste. Perhaps, one of the best ways LivItaly contributes to ecofriendly travel is their maximum allowance for groups. With only six tourists at any one time, the guides can provide a more genuine and personal experience for each participant. The benefits of this don’t stop there. Because they have smaller, more intimate groups for their tours, they do not need to use headsets. Tour companies around the world dispose of an immeasurable amount of plastic headphones daily, but LivItaly has chosen not to further the needless waste of disposable earphones. Additionally, LivItaly will not drive their groups around in petrol-guzzling buses that kick out pollution into the beautiful blue sky of the Italian coast.
The effects of over-tourism in the Cinque Terre has caused some positive consequences, however. Ecotourism has created new jobs and programs that help locals and tourists alike. There is currently a program that assists locals with fixing and building stone walls that reinforce and protect their homes and the entire village.
Sewer systems, inundated with the influx of use by tourists, are being updated and repaired. This move helps protect vegetation and waterways from human waste. Further, some programs and individuals make it their aim to clean up the hiking trails and village streets after the tourists have come madly through.
Perhaps, one of the best outcomes of over-tourism in Cinque Terre is an increased awareness that too many people in such a small and precious area is not good for anyone or anything involved. Locals have set up online petitions asking for a limit on the number of daily tourists let into their once sleepy and serene villages.
The Cinque Terre is an awe-inspiring, lovely place, steeped in Italian culture. The fact that so many people want to visit means there is something special there. Over-tourism in this area doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit. When you do visit this magical place, though, do it responsibly and respectfully. Consider booking a tour with LivItaly and leave no trace on the trails or in the village. Take only the feeling you get when strolling the tiny, winding streets and leave nothing so future generations can enjoy this beautiful piece of paradise.