Tourism crackdown: Sicilian beach to introduced cap on visitors and charges for entry

La Pelosa, a beach in north-west Sardinia famous for its white sands and turquoise waters, will limit the number of visitors to its sandy shores from next summer. Local authorities will impose a cap of 1,500 people and also introduce an entrance fee. It comes after environmental studies show that excessive numbers of beachgoers threaten the beach’s ecosystem.

Antonio Diani, the mayor of Stintino, announced the changes early today but said they would initially be implement as a trial.

He said: “The money collected from the fee would help to pay for the beach’s supervision and maintenance.”

The restrictions are part of a study by ecologists from the nearby University of Sassari on the impact of visitors on the beach’s ecosystem.

The project involves the acquisition of information on the structure of the microbial communities that make up the Pelosa beach ecosystem.

The health status of the beach is then monitored, alongside the implications of humans on the environment.

Sardinians have longed claimed that their beaches are negatively impacted by tourists, with several measures cracking down on their effects having been implemented over the years.

Last year locals placed a ban on visitors bringing beach towels and bags to the 300m stretch of sand, locate just two kilometres away from the harbour village of Stintino, in Capo Falcone.

The ban was put in place to stop bathers either unwittingly or intentional removing sand.

The theft of sand and shells from Sardinia’s beaches is a big problem and offenders can be fined up to €3,000 (£2,600).

Smoking has also been banned on the popular tourist beach, as well as traders.

But the latest move from the local authority aims at curtailing the number of tourists who have access to the famous beach.

Other popular areas of Italy will also start to introduce tolls to curtail overcrowding.

Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is set to introduce a tax on tourists from July 1, 2020.

The tax, which Venice council have a dubbed “a contribution for access” to the World Heritage site, has been in the pipework for over a year but has been delayed several times as authorities figures out how best to levy it.

Tourists will pay €3 (£2.50) each during the low season, €8 (£6.80) during high season and €10 (£8.50) during “critical” periods when visitor numbers reach excessive levels.

The tax is being introduced to make the millions of day-trippers contribute to the upkeep of the lagoon city.

Ticketing systems have also been introduced at Polignano a Mare, a clifftop village in the south of Italy and Civita di Bagnoregio, a small hamlet north of Rome.

The fee is to help raise revenue for the local areas.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega