An Italian beach that has been described by tourists as "heavenly" will now start charging visitors to get a whiff of the ocean.
La Pelosa beach in Stintino, Sardinia, gets thousands of visitors every summer. While the white sand beach is a tourist favourite, the holidaymakers may not be so great for the beach itself. Environmental studies conducted on the beach have revealed that overcrowding may be taking a toll on the ecological balance of the beach.
With a view to protect and preserve the natural attraction, Stintino mayor Antonio Diana has announced the implementation of a paid ticketing system to discourage visitors. There will also be a cap on the number of beach-goers that can visit in a day from next summer, limiting the number to 1,500, local media reported.
Though the price of the ticket is as yet undisclosed, Diana said in a council meeting on Monday that the money collected via tickets will help the city to take care of the beach's maintenance.
This is not the first time that Sardinia has gone on the defensive to protecting its beaches. In 2018, tourists were banned from bringing plastic and towels to La Pelosa beach while visiting. Previously, authorities had also banned tourists from taking away Sardinian beach sands with them as memorabilia.
The anti-tourist move is not the first one in Italy, though it may be the first time tourists will be charged forwith a view to protect the environment.
In 2013, the medieval city of Civita di Bagnoregio which attracts millions of tourists each year started charging visitors. The new system allegedly brought the town back from the brink of extinction and has been serving the city very well.
Venice is infamous for its "tow-tier system" where tourists are charged indicriminately higher prices for availing products as services such as museum tickets or transport.
Other countries have also shown a similar sentiment. Cafes selling chips in Bruges, Belgiam reportedly charge 10 percent extra from tourists. When the issue was raised by tourists, city authorities responded by saying that it was completely legal. Cafe owners also claimed that the extra was not charged as a tax for tourists but rather as a discount for locals and regulars.
The state of Baja California Sur in Mexico, home to the resort cities of Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, also implemented a tourism tax recently that visitors need to pay at the airport while entering.
Thailand also introduced an increased fee for foreign tourists visiting Thai national parks.