Tourist hotspots take action on overcrowding

Some popular tourist destinations are victims of their own success as “overtourism” starts to become a real problem.

Mass tourism brings many benefits, but for crowded cities such as Amsterdam and Venice the sheer number of visitors is now an issue requiring action.

A report by Euromonitor ranking the top 100 City Destinations on behalf of World Travel Market London has revealed the overcrowding hotspots and highlighted the fine line between successful tourism and overtourism.

For example, Amsterdam has 850,000 residents but last year attracted 6.34 million visitors. This figure is expected to have grown by 3.6% to 6.57 million in 2017 and may rise again to 6.8 million in 2020 and 7.5 million in 2025.

Low-spending visitors

Officials in the Dutch capital are now considering plans to charge tourists an extra 10 euros a night as part of a drive to dissuade low-spending visitors, including younger tourists and those on stag weekends.

Amsterdam’s city councillor responsible for finance, Udo Kock, said: “We need more people who actually spend money in the city.”

In Venice, there’s a growing campaign among residents to restrict cruise visits following a huge influx of tourists. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has expressed ‘extreme concern’ about the impact of tourism on Venice’s historical sites and in May it threatened to put Venice on its danger list.

Daily passenger limit

The Greek island of Santorini, which was visited by 790,000 cruise ship passengers in 2015, has already introduced a daily limit of 8,000 disembarkations. There have also been protests in some Spanish resorts and cities about the impact of private holiday rentals on the housing market.

This resulted in authorities on the Balearic Islands recently placing a cap on the number of beds that can be used for tourists.

World Travel Market London director Simon Press said: “Tourism is important to local and national economies and many destinations have worked hard to attract visitors over the years.

“Yet some are now becoming victims of their own success and overtourism is starting to become a real problem.”