Five Places Tackling the Pressures of “Overtourism”

Five Places Tackling the Pressures of “Overtourism”

are underway to grant “overtourism” a place in the
dictionary as destinations struggle to deal with inundations of
tourists. In Amsterdam,
political parties have recently called to curb the “Disneyfication”
of the Dutch capital by banning beer bikes (about time); Botswana
has introduced steep tourists taxes in effort to support
conservation and keep the number of safari-goers
to a manageable minimum; and the World Tourism Organisation
launched its “Travel.Enjoy.Respect” campaign
aimed at promoting responsible and sustainable tourism earlier this
year. Now, destinations including Venice
and the
Isle of Skye
have clamped down and introduced new ways to
tackle growing tourists pressures.


Plenty of people can attribute South Asian pilgrimages to a
shirtless Di Caprio’s discovering of Thailand’s Maya Bay in the
film “The Beach”. There’s no loss of irony that fictional character
Sally (who wished to conceal this paradise from bulldozing
backpackers) was somewhat right. Boat anchors have been damaging
Maya Bay’s coral for years and tourists often leave rubbish,
despite multiple signs and threats of repercussions. Thai
authorities have since been forced to close the island to allow it
a brief respite, although environmentalists warn that a June
to September
break is not long enough. This isn’t the first time the authorities
have clamped down on deteriorating islands; three years ago they
closed Koh Yoong island for similar reasons and since 2016 Similan
Islands National Park has been off-limit to both visitors and


The first victim of overtourism was undoubtedly Venice,
with visitor numbers soaring to the same figures that some
countries achieved annually – more tourists visited Venice on
Easter Sunday than visited Bangladesh all year. The weight this put
on residents led to marching on the streets and forced the lagoon
city’s mayor to make tackling overtourism a priority.
Lesser-explored parts of the city are now being heavily promoted,
no new hotel licences are being granted and there is a complete ban
of new fast-food outlets (with the exception of artisanal gelato).
After resident population plummeted, a “local’s first” policy was
introduced granting residents priority over tourists (including
separate queues).


For years, Colombia
struggled with turbulent stereotypes and longed for people to see
beyond the unrest. Then, a peace deal was signed and Colombia’s
most dangerous (and most beautiful) destinations were finally open
for exploration. One of these was Caño Cristales, a river that
ripples pink, lime green and yellow thanks to aquatic plants and
tricks of the light. Locals call it the “liquid rainbow” and have
introduced a rule book to protect the delicate ecosystem:
no plastic bottles
, sunscreen or insect repellent in the water,
swimming is limited, cigarettes are banned and woe betide anyone
who feeds the fish.


UNESCO threatened to take away Dubrovnik’s World Heritage status
as a result of the influx of tourists besieging the medieval city
due to its
Game of Thrones
filming credentials – it’s the location for the
fictional Westeros capital of King’s Landing in the HBO hit TV
show. Hollywood seems to be quite smitten with the Adriatic city;
its stone walls will star in the next James Bond. The result?
Starry-eyed tourists regularly flooding the city, eager to take
part in novel tours. With the city’s stone walls threatening to
crumble under the pressure, the Croatian city’s mayor has
drastically reduced the number of cruise ships allowed to visit.
The decision will cost the city over a million Euros, but will
ensure that the quality of life in the city remains intact.
Following suit, neighbouring
(often dubbed the “new Ibiza“)
has implemented strict tourist fines. Misbehaving tourists can be
fined as much as £534 for walking around the historic town centre
in a swimsuit and boozy brits face up to £623 fines for public

Isle of Skye

Last year, the largest Scottish isle cracked under the pressure
of too many tourists as roads were blocked, traffic piled up and
lanes were obstructed with camper-van travellers looking for a
place to pitch up. Its idyllic fairy pools, Elgol’s iconic sunset
and the rocky hills of Old Man of Storr are being blamed for the
sudden surge in guests. Fed up of mounds of litter and
disrespectful public behaviour, residents escalated their
complaints to the local police, who then began turning people away
if they didn’t have a place to stay. Ditch the car, travel on foot
and take advantage of the gruelling hiking trails. Not only will
you be part of the solution, but you can greedily drink in the
highland views without navigating a sea of selfie sticks first.

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