Weininger, Stephen J.
Azienda di Promozione Turistica
Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world. About 11 million tourists go there every year. Because Venice has a limited amount of space and hotel prices are also relatively expensive, many tourists spend only the day and leave at night. The number of this kind of tourist, excursionists, is not known. In an attempt to estimate the yearly number of excursionists in Venice, this project was completed at WPI's Venice Project Center for Azienda di Promozione Turistica (APT), which is responsible for the management of tourist flow in the entire Venetian Lagoon. Such an estimation, and the process behind it, is of extreme relevance and importance for the APT and the city of Venice. The estimate of yearly excursionist presences can not only be used by the tourism industry now as a planning aid, but also the procedures for distinguishing excursionists and the primary counting locations delineated in this project can be used as proven methods to determine the number of excursionists that enter Venice at a future date. Using all of this information together and actively addressing the tourist phenomenon as soon as possible can only benefit Venice in the future. It was decided that excursionist counts were to be conducted at the principal sites of access to Venice, including a train station, two bus terminals, and many boat stops. Once the selection of these primary access points was established, the group developed and tested a methodology for visually identifying excursionists. For each of these locations, continuous counts were conducted on both a weekday and a weekend day. After data collection had been completed, the counts from the two days at each location were extrapolated to a weekly basis using the daily proportions of excursionist influx from the weeklong count at the Santa Lucia train station. The numbers were then extrapolated to a monthly basis using information on hotel occupancy acquired from the APT. The yearly estimate was obtained by adding the monthly extrapolations; the result was an estimation of over 6 million excursionist entrances/presences yearly in the city of Venice, including the Lido. Due to the limited time and resources available to the group, the main sources of error in this yearly estimate were in the very nature of the extrapolations because they are, by nature, inexact. An additional source of error was the inevitable omission of counting during important festival events that occur throughout the entire year. However, more important than the estimation itself is the reliable methodology developed and provided to the APT for future, more accurate estimates using greater human resources and more time.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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Chemistry and Biochemistry