One of Italy’s most iconic beaches may soon begin to charge an entry fee to limit visitor numbers and raise money for ecological protection.
La Pelosa in the Sardinian town of Stintino is one of the island’s most popular beaches, but local authorities believe this could be working to its detriment.
The town’s mayor, Antonio Diana said he is planning to limit visitors by forcing beachgoers to pay for a ticket to the popular spot, the Local Italy reported.
Diana told a meeting of local council that environmental impact studies have warned crowding could damage the pristine beach and said authorities will try to cap visitor numbers at around 1,500 per day for the 2020 summer period.
“The ticket will allow us to cover costs at La Pelosa and put the rest of the proceeds towards cleaning and maintaining other beaches. I’m convinced we’ll get a good result,” councillor for tourism Francesca Demontis said, according to the Local Italian.
Council has tried banning towels and beach bags in the past as a means to stop people from taking the beach’s famous powdery white sand with them when they leave. The council also plans to remove the paved road leading to the beach so it is more difficult to approach by car.
It is not yet known how much tickets to the beach could cost but there has been some backlash from locals who have criticized the decision to charge for a public beach.
Several tonnes of sand, shells and rocks are taken from Sardinia’s beaches each year, with many tourists deliberately stealing it as a souvenir. One French couple was recently threatened with six years in jail after being caught with 40 kilograms of sand from a Sardinian beach.
Authorities in Sardinia are also struggling with glitches on Google maps sending tourists on dangerous roads to cliff tops while in search of “secret beaches”.