There are a lot of places throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world where tourism is one of the most important sources of income for the locals and their government. However, while gaining international fame as a vacation destination is obviously quite lucrative, it comes with a lot of downsides too.
Overtourism has become a prominent issue in some of the world’s most beloved spots that affects everyone involved. It sometimes causes economic and environmental issues for the city, while raining on the parade of visitors whose opportunities to enjoy their vacation have been limited by other tourists and government-mandated restrictions.
Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world for plenty of reasons. The city is home to the Canals of Amsterdam, one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Europe, and boasts a prolific scene for artists and art enthusiasts alike, so it’s no surprise that the streets are overrun by visitors.
In 2018, over 18 million tourists came to see it for themselves, causing the locals to begin to worry that their city was being overtaken by tourists. Netherlands officials have made the decision to stop advertising the country as a whole as a tourist destination, in hopes of managing the crowds.
Santorini is a Greek island that lives a bit of a double life. During the offseason, it’s quiet, idyllic and laid-back – but during tourist season, it’s like an entirely different place. Every inch is packed full of tourists from all over the world. Some come for the beautiful sights including the natural scenery and the unique, white-washed architecture, while others come for the non-stop partying that takes over the nightlife scene.
Overtourism has become a threat to the lifestyle of the local population and the overall appearance of the city, since they weren’t quite prepared for the 66% increase in overnight visitors that the last 5 years has brought them. Truthfully, it might be better for anyone who’s looking for a good party to skip Santorini entirely – after all, there’s no shortage of good places to party in the world.
The most popular tourist destination in France, Paris is probably one of the first places that comes to mind when the average person considers taking a trip to Europe. It’s easy to understand why the city is so popular, since it seems to have something for everyone. Delicious cuisine, historical significance, ground-breaking art – and even some uniquely creepy things, like the Catacombs. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of places to go and things to do in Paris.
However, overtourism has started to become an increasingly real concern. One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Louvre museum, was recently closed to the public after the workers walked out due to overcrowding – luckily, it’s been reopened after negotiations between union representatives and management, but it’s still a sign of just how serious the crowds can get in Paris.
Ever since Elizabeth Gilbert’s travel memoir, Eat Pray Love, released in 2006, Bali has seen an impressive increase in its annual tourism numbers. Even those who haven’t read the book (or seen the movie starring Julia Roberts) have heard of Bali for its beautiful beaches and bountiful culture that leaves most visitors feeling spiritually enriched just for having been there.
Unfortunately, overtourism comes with some serious consequences for pretty much everyone involved. The island’s natural beauty is threatened by littering, the locals are sometimes left struggling to navigate their own home, and of course, the travelers themselves have to fight with crowds in order to get anything done!
Some of the most influential things in the entire world can be found in the heart of Rome, a one-of-a-kind city that’s packed full of historical, artistic, architectural, and religious significance. It makes perfect sense as one of the most popular destinations for tourists worldwide.
However, the seemingly never-ending crowds make it difficult for some travelers to truly fall in love with the city. Obviously, there are security risks from how overpopulated the streets are, and it’s just plain annoying to try to maneuver through throngs while trying to enjoy a vacation.
Barcelona is a beautiful city that’s located in Spain. Less than 2 million people actually live there, but over 30 million travelers choose to take their vacations there. It’s widely considered to be one of the most attractive cities in all of Europe, known for the beauty of its streets, but there’s a very serious problem that’s growing progressively worse over time: overtourism.
Some of the city’s most popular streets are nearly impossible to navigate because of the crowds of visitors, making it difficult for both the locals and the visitors themselves to find very much enjoyment in seeing the sights of Barcelona.
Dubrovnik is a city in Croatia that has seen an overwhelming spike in tourism due to its involvement with HBO’s Game of Thrones. An area known as Old City was used as King’s Landing, so fans of the show have started pouring in to see it for themselves, encouraged further by tour guides and other programs.
In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have set out to visit Dubrovnik, which has been a struggle for the local population to keep up with. After all, there are less than 2,000 people actually living in the city, so it’s easy to understand why shops, restaurants, and other businesses are struggling to keep up with the tourists.
Boracay is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, so it’s no surprise that it’s a popular destination for tropical tourism. Over the years, it became known as an epicenter for wild beach parties – which, as is almost always the case, lead to an overwhelming amount of visitors and began to cause damage to the environment. Between litter, complications with sewage, and a handful of other problems, the island was forced to shut down for roughly 6 months in 2018.
Even after reopening, tourism numbers are heavily restricted by the government, allowing only 6,000 visitors at a time, as opposed to the previous 19,000.
One of Italy’s most popular vacation destinations, Venice is home to some of the most iconic tourist attractions in Europe, if not the entire world. The canals are internationally known for being a beautiful, romantic experience, which has served to attract many people from all over the world who are eager to see them in real life.
Unfortunately, the constant crowds seem to detract from the overall enjoyment that visitors and even locals are able to find in the city. In order to try to gain some control over their tourism numbers, the city has enacted an entry fee that day-trippers will be required to pay, the amount of which varies based on how many other people are in the city.
1 MACHU PICCHU
Machu Picchu is a citadel located on top of an Incan mountain in Peru. It is full of beautiful, ancient architecture and places with incredible spiritual significance that draws in visitors from all over the world.
In recent years, there have been over 5000 visitors per day, which is more than half of UNESCO’s recommended daily limit of 2500. These numbers make it difficult for the locals to protect the area from disrespectful tourists who climb on the structures, steal pieces of the landmarks, and leave writing and drawings behind. In order to try to get ahead of this problem, new ticketing practices have been introduced by the officials, allowing visitors to stay for a maximum of four hours, during a specific time slot.
Luckily, the time not spent at Machu Picchu can easily be spent at one of Peru’s other destinations.
BY BREANNA BURFORD