Tourism chief wants to restrict Pompeii access
Stars and Stripes March 24, 2008
If you’re thinking about touring the ancient archaeological ruins of Pompeii near Naples, Italy, this summer, be aware that a proposal to limit access to the site could reduce the number of visitors allowed.
The Italian media reported on a plan to limit the number of tourists to the site, while providing more access for business ventures.
Campania tourist chief Claudio Velardi was quoted in several Italian newspapers last week as saying that a limit on the number of tourists could potentially increase revenue by accommodating more business ventures.
“If we cap the number of visitors it will be easier to allow businessmen within the ruins to make money and hold events without being hampered by cultural fuddy-duddies,” he said in a report from Italian press agency ANSA. “There’s nothing scandalous about that — they do it at MoMa (New York’s Museum of Modern Art), at the Prado and at the Louvre, and Fendi even rented the Great Wall of China to organize a fashion show, paying an outrageous sum to the government in Beijing.”
But not everyone agrees.
“Restricted entry on its own is pointless,” said University of Bologna art economics professor Michele Trimarchi, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s leading newspapers Wednesday. “It serves a purpose if it ensures an enhanced visitor experience, which will not come from handing over to private sponsors.”
Pompeii is one of the most popular attractions for visitors to the Campania region, especially for military personnel in Italy. The Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation tourist branch — Information, Tours and Travel — takes several hundred visitors to the site annually.
“This is one of our most popular trips,” said ITT travel agent Umberto Illiano. “We take around 500 tourists [from the military community] a year to Pompeii and Heraculaneum, as well as arranging special tours for sailors from Navy ships coming through the area.”
“Right now this is just a proposal,” he said. “There have been other such proposals, like limiting access to Capri, but that hasn’t affected us.”