Overtourism is the greatest peril of modern-day tourism

Published on : Saturday, December 8, 2018

Over-tourism or mass tourism is the greatest concern for tourism throughout the world. A handful of destinations around the world are being thronged by too many tourists. The stampede is having a damaging effect on the culture, environment and spirit of these places. Locals are feeling threatened. Foundations are crumbling. Tourists are complaining about other tourists.


As if sinking weren’t enough, the Italian city of canals and masquerade balls Venice is drowning in tourists. More than 30 million people visit the city annually, surpassing the local population of 50,000. Several years ago, UNESCO warned Venetian officials that the city could end up on its endangered list of heritage sites if they did not curb their enthusiasm for tourists. An estimated 60,000 tourists visit per day during peak season. Venice unveiled an awareness campaign last year called #EnjoyRespectVenezia, which encourages responsible behavior (e.g., do not picnic on church steps).


Verona, 75 miles west of Venice is the setting of two Shakespeare plays. Bard fans can practice their lines beneath Juliet’s balcony while relationship-seekers can give her statue a hopeful tap. The UNESCO World Heritage site comes with the requisite Old World charms, such as a piazza populated by statues of Greek gods, a performing arts venue in a Roman amphitheater and a 13th-century castle built to defend the Veronese from invaders. The destination is also popular for its European Union-protected variety of rice, a mainstay on local menus. One can also go rafting down the Adige River.


The 15th-century Incan site of Machu Picchu in Peru survived the Spanish conquest, but too many tourists can ruin its appeal. In 2013, UNESCO aired its concerns about the degradation of Peru’s top attraction. In response, the government and UNESCO capped the number of daily visitors at 2,500. However, last year, 1.4 million people toured the ruins. But now, staying all day is over. You can buy a ticket for the morning or afternoon slot, but once your time is up, your time is up.


Machu Picchu and Choquequirao might as well be twins: Both ancient Incan cities are in Peru’s Andes Mountains showcasing the same architectural style and building techniques. But Choquequirao, which is three times larger than Machu Picchu, receives a tiny fraction of visitors — a dozen to 30 adventurers a day. The reason is because the site is less developed — only one-third of the site has been exposed — and harder to reach.


The capital of Catalonia Barcelona is the most-visited city in Spain, drawing 32 million people, more than 30 times its population. After the terrorist attack in August 2017, the city experienced a slight dip in tourism, but it wasn’t enough to decongest La Rambla, the nearly mile-long pedestrian boulevard, or the buildings designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. Nearly 3 million passengers arrive by cruise ship annually. Mayor Ada Colau has fined Airbnb.com for renting unlicensed properties, raised the parking rate for coach buses idling at popular tourist spots and slowed the increase of hotel rooms.


Seville is the cultural and business center of the Andalusian region, and also a great place to take flamenco for a spin. The city goes big with the world’s largest Gothic church, the Seville Cathedral. The city boasts its own regional style blending Islamic and Christian aesthetics. One would get to see amazing and vibrant glazed tiles with nature themes, rounded arches and carved wood ceilings.


To reclaim Amsterdam from tourists, officials are mulling or have executed several laws, such as doubling the tax on hotel rooms and banning short-term Airbnb rentals and souvenir shops in the historical center. They are also thinking of relocating the cruise-ship berth and passenger terminal away from the middle of the action.


The capital of Slovenia Ljubljana shares many of the same attributes as its western neighbor like the Volcji Potok Arboretum, which holds a tulip exhibit every April; a bike-share program with rentals and more than 5,450 cycling routes and the Ljubljana River, which flows through marshes and the heart of the city. The European Commission crowned the city as the European Green Capital in 2016.

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