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Mass tourism is starting to become a problem for this beloved Italian vacation spot.

Talia Avakian
July 06, 2017

The Italian island of Capri has long been as escape for everyone from Roman emperors to Hollywood stars, but the charming locale is struggling to deal with the mass number of tourists that are visiting every year, the island's mayor told The Telegraph.

A total of 2 million tourists visit the island throughout the year, according to mayor Giovanni De Martino, with the majority of these visitors coming either for day trips from locations like Naples or Sorrento, or as a stop on a cruise or package tour.

This influx of visitors is starting to cause overcrowding throughout the island, making it harder to get around and experience its beauty. 

“There’s the risk that Capri could explode — you can’t fit a liter and a half of water into a one liter bottle," De Martino told The Telegraph. "We welcome tourists, but 2 million a year is a bit too much."

While ferries and hydrofoils are required to wait at least 10 minutes before letting passengers out between each vessel to avoid overcrowding, they often overlook these laws, letting out large numbers of visitors at the busiest times, like in the mornings, De Martino said. 

In some occasions, they've let off as many as 800 tourists in just eight minutes, he added, which is causing longer wait times for everyone when it comes to getting buses, taxis, and access to the funicular railway to travel around the island.

Related: How Cinque Terre Is Handling the Pressure of Being on Every Traveler’s Bucket List

“The boat arrivals are far too concentrated and that creates tension and annoyance for locals and tourists alike,” De Martino said. “We have asked the ferry companies to spread out their arrivals more; so far, they have done nothing to take our concerns into consideration or improve the situation.” 

That’s why De Martino is currently in communication with regional officials in Naples and mayors in Cinque Terre and Venice, Italian destinations that are also facing issues with overcrowding from tourism, to discuss how to best address the growing numbers.

One proposed solution is to encourage tourists to spend at least one evening on the island, rather than just stopping for a day trip, to give them a chance to wander to other parts of the island instead of remaining in the main area of Capri Town.

“We don’t want to limit arrivals and we are very reluctant to talk about a fixed number of people being allowed to visit the island each day, but we do want people to come at a less frenetic pace,” De Martino said.

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