The Sicilian island of Lampedusa is a popular tourism destination. It features Mediterranean pines, blue waters, and the delicious food of Sicily. The Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa is one of the most famous places on the island. It’s a true paradise for travelers who like to relax, swim, and eat ice cream in front of an unforgettable view. This beach is such a paradise that it was too popular, too crowded. The threat of overtourism was too dangerous, so authorities took matters into their own hands.
Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa, reservation-only
From July 15th, 2021, visitors can’t enjoy this beach without a reservation. In fact, this Sicilian destination has now a limited number of daily spots. Travelers have to make a reservation to enter and this is a free service.
The Natural Reserve of the island took this decision because the beauty was at risk. Indeed, overtourism threatened the life and survival of the unique Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa. Thanks to this initiative, visitors will be able to enjoy the beach in peace and their presence won’t be harmful.
How to reserve a spot
Travelers can pick between two entry times. One is from 8:30am to 1:30pm, while the second time is between 2:30pm to 7:30pm and there are 300 spots available for each. For kids under 6, there is no reservation necessary. It’s useful to remember that drone aren’t allowed in the Reserve and smoking is also prohibited. The website to reserve the spot is Riserva Naturale Isola di Lampedusa.
Since overtourism can cause dangers and pose risks to the environment, this initiative was essential to protect the beach. In fact, Lampedusa isn’t the only Italian destination suffering because of the crowds. So does Capri, which has now taken measures to protect its environment.
Limiting access is eco-friendly
In Italy, the tourism industry is worth over euro 40 billion. In 2019, foreign travelers spent 360 million nights in Italy, almost a 6% rise from the previous year. It’s worth 13% of the Italian economy. So, this is one of the top industries for the country. But it doesn’t just bring revenue. Also, travelers come with their risks.
Too many people and too much traffic threaten the local flora and fauna, sometimes totally destroying it. Mass-tourism also affects the people. In fact, it can cause inequality and even threaten local culture. One of the main ways places can protect themselves is by limiting access. Thanks to limited numbers, authorities can control travelers and even adjust the strategy, if necessary.
In Italy, many popular destinations like the Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa have chosen this path. For example, the enchanting town of Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre of region Liguria. Here, only a limited number of visitors can enter. The same happens in many beaches of Sardinia, like Cala Goloritzé and Cala Mariolu in Orosei.
Still, many places battle with overtourism but they are not trying to solve the issue yet. Like Venice, which every year is swarmed by over 12 million tourists every year. Or other art and historic cities like Florence, where more and more travelers arrive every year. For such a tiny city, over 5 million people get noticed.
Cities are trying to implement the limited access strategy to preserve both the heritage and the locals’ mental health. But it’s a though battle and decision to make. Where is the balance between revenue and sustainability? Hopefully the example of the Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa can offer some answers.