When I first won my Canada Research Chair (CRC) in 2004, I began to explore how the notions of place, scale, limits and diversity influenced sustainable community development. This article on the impacts of tourism on Venice demonstrates that we need to begin to discuss the scale and limits of the tourism sector. Although climate pollution and biodiversity loss are two or our biggest challenges, Venice faces a more immediate risk: the rising tide of tourists presently estimated to be 25 million a year and projected to reach 38 million by 2025. Clearly, the world cannot continue to sustain rising numbers of tourists or all the characteristics of place become lost in the hordes shuffling through beautiful places of worship, art and architecture.
Ironically, we were in Paris when Notre Dame caught fire and earlier that afternoon had gone to see it, but the crowds were so dense we decided to wait and go another day when the line ups weren’t so great.