Pompeii has faced so much, from earthquakes to mismanagement and underfunding to—obviously—apocalyptic disaster via volcano. But now it faces a new challenge: overtourism.
The New York Times reported on the state of Pompeii, which is better than ever, after a multiyear restoration project. You can visit newly uncovered sites like the villa of Julia Felix, a thriving Pompeiian businesswoman. However, it costs a total fortune to maintain the sprawling site, and that’s without even getting into the cost of getting enough guards to manage the increasing number of tourists. Obviously, a lot of people want to go to Pompeii, because it absolutely rules; however, some percentage of those visitors apparently lack any goddamn sense in their heads:
One problem, Mr. Irlando claims, is that there are not enough guards to watch out for misbehavior among tourists. “Not everyone remembers that the excavations are an archaeological monument and not an amusement park,” Mr. Irlando said.
Managing tourist behavior has always been a challenge in Pompeii, an archaeological site that spans an area larger than 120 American football fields. And now tourist numbers are higher than ever. In 2009, nearly 2.1 million people visited. By 2018, that figure had risen to more than 3.6 million, an increase of more than 70 percent. This year, the number will be even higher. Nearly 450,000 people visited Pompeii in July, marking the highest monthly figure ever recorded.
“I’m glad that one third of the city is still buried,” said tour guide Glauco Messina, who has seen all kinds of misbehavior by tourists from hopping barriers to touching frescoes.
Please: This site has survived, again, apocalyptic disaster via volcano. (The site, anyway, not the residents.) Let’s all pull together and not be worse for this UNESCO world heritage site than Vesuvius.