Italy’s Cinque Terre coastline has grown in popularity over the past few years and the location now attracts more than two million visitors a year.
However, what many tourists seem to forget is the five cities that line the Cinque Terre coastline are set into mountainous terrain and should only be traversed by experienced walkers in appropriate footwear.
As tourist numbers have risen, so too have cases of tourists needing to be rescued by Club Alpino Italiano, a hiking organisation who volunteer their services for tourist rescue expeditions between the cities. It appears that naive tourists are trying to walk the paths between the five cities in nothing but thongs or sandals, then suddenly find themselves stranded and ill-equipped to get navigate the pathway to the next city. The national park then has to organise rescue groups for the tourists, at a cost to the city itself.
They believe the answer is to start a campaign aimed at educating tourists about Cinque Terre and the paths that connect the cities, then issue fines to tourists found to be inappropriately prepared for any attempted walks.
"The problem is that people come here thinking they are at the seaside, but the paths above the villages are like mountain trails," said Patrizio Scarpellini, the head of the Cinque Terre national park told Traveller. "First, we will introduce the information campaign, then we'll start issuing fines."
"The paths are like Alpine trails. Tourists should not be tackling them in flip-flops and without adequate water," said the club's Maurizio Cattani.
The fines are predicted to range from 50 euro to 2500 euro (A$80 - $3988), depending on how much inconvenience and expense any rescue attempt may cause the city.
The moral of the story is: research your destination.
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