In Venice last week I learned that locals are leaving in droves. Yes, the water is rising (by 1.5 meters since the city was founded). But the encroaching tides are not the cause for the exodus. Instead, it is high real estate prices. Only 57,000 locals remain in the city. The bakers are gone; bread is now imported from the mainland. The butchers are gone, the families are gone and the schools are closing. In multiple Piazza’s we saw 1-2 lone children playing in what were once bustling communities. The city has become a location for “day visitors” as our guide called them, as most tourists don’t even spend the night.
Homes are being bought by foreigners who rarely visit, and workers in the hotels and shops commute in and back every day leaving the restaurant patios away from St Mark’s empty. The nights, while peaceful, are somewhat eerie.
And it got me thinking.
To date, the discussion on how to save Venice has been focused on slowing the rising water. But what if everyone is working on the wrong problem? If we fix the flooding and nobody stays, what good is the solution? If everyone leaves, is Venice at risk of becoming a theme park? And who will want to visit a historic ghost town?
As salespeople we can’t afford to waste time trying to fix the wrong problem. <– Click to Tweet
If we do, we will have no customers left to sell to. Even if the tide stops rising.