South Tyrol imposes a tourism ban

South Tyrol is at the limit. Drastic limits are now being set for the huge rush of visitors.

A vacation in Italy is a dream for many people. In the footsteps of the ancient Romans to Rome, to drink wine in Tuscany or to swim in Sicily? But one region in Italy has had enough of the huge tourism hordes and is putting a stop to the onslaught: South Tyrol.

“We have reached the limit. The limit of resources, the limit of traffic and the limit in terms of housing shortages,” said Arnold Schuler, who is responsible for tourism in the South Tyrolean Provincial Council, now CNN.

South Tyrol, the gateway to the Dolomites, is popular with visitors in both winter and summer. Last year, 34 million overnight stays were officially counted in the German-speaking area. “At times it was unbearable,” says Schuler, whose government caused a stir in September 2022 with a drastic new law.

Shrink back to 2019 levels

As a result, hotels, Airbnbs, and guesthouses are not allowed to add new properties or additional rooms without permission from their community. Schuler and his government want to shrink back to the numbers of 2019. At that time, just under 230,000 beds were registered in the region.

Accommodation operators now have until June 30, 2023 to list exactly how many beds they rented out four years ago. According to Schuler, each sofa bed must be recorded for this purpose. At the end of the process, the exact number of overnight guests allowed per accommodation and per community is determined.

Rental and purchase prices are skyrocketing

Although South Tyrol relies heavily on tourism, people welcome the cut. “In this way, the tourists will be better off, they will have a high-quality offer, and the residents will also be better off,” says Schuler. Because as a result of the influx of visitors, rents in South Tyrol also shot up drastically. It is becoming increasingly difficult for locals to find affordable housing.

The bare numbers: Around 532,000 people live in the region, which is almost twice as many as there are hotel beds. “In some towns, the number of tourists drastically exceeds that of the locals,” says Schuler.

This relationship should now relax. South Tyrol wants to remain a tourist region, but also a place where the local population can live well. In addition, according to Schuler, tourists will find it more difficult to find accommodation in the future, but not impossible.

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