Banksy Wades Into Venice Overtourism Debate With Cruise Ship Art

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Street artist Banksy has unveiled his latest artwork in Venice. The work depicts a large cruise ship, highlighting the issue of overtourism in the city.

More than graffiti on a building, ‘Venice in Oil’ is made up of nine framed paintings making up a cruise liner surrounded by gondolas and the famous Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Campanile.

It was erected during Venice Biennale art exhibition in St Marks’ Square and shared in a video on the artist’s official Instagram account alongside the caption: ‘”setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale.”

The video then pans around to show a cruise ship anchored nearby.

Huge numbers of visitors continue to strain the infrastructure of the city, and there have been calls to ban cruise ships in recent years.

Some 20 million visitors visit the city each year. On its busiest days, around 120,000 people visit this city which is home to just 55,000 permanent residents – a number that has declined in recent years.

Venice has introduced an entry fee of up to €10 ($15) for day visitors to the city, a move welcomed by local hoteliers.

The tax measure was included in Italy’s budget law for 2019 and is aimed primarily at the more than one million cruise passengers who visit Venice each year. It has led to calls for similar taxes elsewhere in Italy.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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