To tackle the effects of climate change, the Italian city of Venice has presented a plan calling for responsible tourism at this year’s C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen.

For years, Venice has been facing its toughest challenge ever, the risk of flooding due to rising sea levels, Efe news reported on Saturday.
The mass tourism and its environmental impact have become a challenge for the city. This world heritage site’s history is dating back more 1,500 years.

Luigi Brugnaro, Venice’s Mayor told Efe in an interview, “Anyone has to visit Venice with respect. You have to go for a few days, to be impregnated with it. The ones who hurt it are those who spend only one day.”

The conservative politician took part in the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, where he unveiled his plan to protect the Italian city from the effects of global warming.

His medium and long-term roadmap includes policies affecting not only the huge cruise ships that enter Venice daily but also the 25 million people that visit the city every year.

“No one should have negative thoughts about tourists. They are curious people who want to see a place like Venice and it is fair that they can do it. We only have to establish simple rules,” Brugnaro said.

From January 2020, visitors who spend less than 24 hours in Venice will have to pay a tourist tax of 10 euros to offset cleaning and maintenance costs.

Brugnaro also plans to regulate tourist rentals through platforms such as Airbnb.

Door-to-door garbage collecting has increased recycling in Venice. Though it is not that popular amongst tourists.

Venice and its lagoon were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1987, but two years ago the UN organization warned the Italian city that it should take steps before 2021 to avoid being included in his “blacklist”.

China will host the next meeting of the UN committee to monitor the progress, in 2020.

Venice goes on alert when a high tide reaches 80 cm. If sea-levels were to rise by 110 cm, more than 10 per cent of the pedestrian area of the historic centre would be flooded.

The situation could become critical If the worst predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are fulfilled, according to which the sea level could rise 110 cm in 2100.

“It is not inevitable that it will end up being destroyed. Venice is much more alive than some say. It is a resilient city that adapts,” the Mayor told Efe news.

The city is “a symbol for the world, one of its greatest symbols. We must set aside our selfishness and interests. If Venice is saved, the world is saved”, he added.