Bellagio on Lake Como.

Lake Como considering daytripper fee to curb overtourism

By Region News North-east Italy Travel & Tourism

Lake Como, known for its glitz and glamour, is besieged by tourism. The third largest lake in Italy has approximately 1.4 million visitors flocking to its shores annually.

The overwhelming tourist influx has prompted discussions about implementing a tourist tax in the lakeside city of Como, similar to Venice’s daily charge.

Mayor Alessandro Rapinese laments the challenges of managing tourism, stating, “It’s difficult to be mayor when you are fighting tourism.” He suggests that concrete measures, such as a tourist tax, may be necessary to address the issue.

Details about the proposed fee, including its amount, applicability, and implementation timeline, remain undisclosed. However, it’s speculated the fee might target daytrippers, excluding overnight guests, and could be enforced on peak days like weekends and holidays.

“Hit and run” tourism

Similar to Venice, Lake Como faces issues associated with “hit and run” tourism, which disrupts local life and infrastructure. Severino Beri, president of the local hotel association in Lecco, highlights the challenges of managing the influx, expressing concerns about the negative impact on the local economy and environment.

“I don’t know what happened after COVID, but we no longer have enough square metres for all the tourists that arrive on a Sunday,” Severino Beri, president of the hotel association in the lakeside city of Lecco, told local press. “Daytrippers bring little in terms of income,” added Beri. “In fact, all they bring is mountains of rubbish and disruption.”

The surge in tourist numbers, fuelled by celebrity allure and film settings, has strained resources and led to overcrowding. Measures such as visitor limits at popular attractions, like Villa del Balbianello, have been implemented to mitigate the impact on historic sites and the environment.

The Italian Fund for the Environment (FAI), which runs the property, called it “a drastic decision” but essential to counter the effect of “an excess of tourism that has an ever-greater impact on Lake Como”.

Additionally, the proliferation of holiday homes and private rentals has exacerbated housing challenges for residents, with a significant surge observed since 2016.

As Lake Como grapples with overtourism, discussions about sustainable management and potential solutions, including tourist taxes, continue to evolve to preserve the region’s charm and vitality.

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