Beach in Sardinia to start charging holidaymakers to battle overtourism

Visitors to a popular beach in Sardinia may soon have to pay for the privilege.

Local authorities in Stintino have announced they will introduce an entrance fee to access La Pelosa beach on the north-west tip of the Italian island.

Plans are also in motion to cap visitor numbers at around 1,500 a day after problems with overcrowding have led to environmental concerns about the beach.

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Antonio Diana, Stintino’s mayor, revealed the plans at a city council meeting, although he didn’t say how much the entry charge would be.

“The ticket will allow us to cover the expenses for Pelosa and distribute the proceeds also for the maintenance and cleaning of the other beaches,” said councillor for tourism Francesca Demontis, reports local paper Sassari Oggi

“I am convinced that we can achieve a good result.”

Public works commissioner Antonella Mariani added: “We have started a process of correct use of the Pelosa beach, aimed at its preservation.”

The changes are due to be introduced in 2020.

The beach already has strict rules prohibiting holidaymakers from bringing towels or beach bags to ensure they don’t take any sand away with them – either intentionally or by accident.

La Pelosa is one of Sardinia’s most popular beaches, thanks to its idyllic white sand lapped by turquoise water.

It’s not the first tourist-heavy destination to cap visitor numbers.

Peru’s famous Machu Picchu first introduced ticketing in 2017, after surging tourist numbers prompted Unesco to threaten to put the attraction on its list of world heritage sites in danger.

Visitor numbers had swelled to an average of a 5,000 a day in summer, double the 2,500 advised by Unesco.

In 2016, Italy launched ticketing and a cap on visitor numbers in the Cinque Terre UN World Heritage area, where five exquisite fishing villages are linked by cliff-side trails.

After local communities complained of being overwhelmed by holidaymakers and daytrippers, the head of the Cinque Terre park said no more than 1.5 million visitors would be allowed in during the summer, compared to 2.5 million the previous year.

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