Living in a postcard
Release date: April 2021
a documentary film RT 52’ – 84’ – ITALY
written by Christian Nicoletta and Alessandro D’Alessandro
directed by Christian Nicoletta
produced by Reassemblage and 4Rooms
with the support of Bando Audiovisivo Ligure, POR-FESR Liguria 2014-2020
Tourism has continuously grown in recent years selling us picture perfect postcard images of tourist destinations. It has also however generated strong social tensions.Then came Covid-19 and these problems took second place.Embarking on a journey between Cinque Terre, London, Venice, Barcelona and the Norwegian fjords we discover the root causes of these problems and if they will still exist after the pandemic.
For years tourism has sold us an idealised image of tourist destinations, ever increasing, creating economic growth but also drastically transforming, to the point of irreversibly distorting these postcard images. I live in the Cinque Terre, one of Italy’s most famous tourist destinations and I wanted to see for myself these transformations. It is 2019 and the problems caused by overtourism have become very clear to the tourist operators and administrators. They look for solutions but are lacking the means and a common vision.
To understand more, I go to the World Travel Market in London, the biggest exhibition of the tourist industry in the world. Right here, where every corner and experience of the planet is sold by international travel agencies, they have created a panel of experts who are questioned on the sustainability of tourism, “Responsible Tourism”, and here I understand that it is possible to have a tourism model that cares about residents and their needs. From London I go to Venice where the number of inhabitants is continuing to decline. Here the citizens have organised themselves into civic groups that ask the administration to not look at tourism as the only resource for the city. In search of positive models I go to Barcelona,where for years the administration has been looking to tackle overtourism. Here the problems started with the arrival of online tourism platforms which propose the same tourism model in every destination. Another global tourism economy is cruise tourism. From big cities like Venice to small Nowegian fjords, cruise ships generate huge flows of tourists which cannot be managed by the tourist localities.
Covid-19 arrives in March 2020 and tourism stops, the problems associated with tourism have gone. But have they really disappeared? Professor Giovanni Semi, sociologist, and with him a group of english experts for Responsible Tourism, describe the impact of the pandemic on global tourism and try to figure out what could happen in the next future.