4 destinations affected by mass tourism that travelers need to know

Share the article

Last update

Mass tourism is now a serious problem affecting four of the world’s top destinations. While some cities may see the influx of dollars as a good thing, especially after two years of Covid, others fear that overdevelopment, and especially the accompanying crowds, will end up hurting their status as authentic, culturally- relevant sites.

Crowded beach in Makarska, Croatia, on tourism concept

Many countries that had turned away travelers due to Covid are now welcoming them back, even if freedom is not free: since reopening, demand for travel has reached unprecedented heights, and millions and millions of travelers headed for en masse to these four hotspots, overwhelming local operators and even disrupting the lives of locals.

In this article, you will learn more about these “too touristy” cities and what exactly are the authorities doing about it:

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Group of tourists taking photos at the viewpoint over Dubrovnik, Croatia showing more tourism

Overtourism wasn’t really Croatia’s biggest concern until the last decade, when the coastal Balkan nation rose to prominence as a widely promoted summer destination in the media – most obviously, by offering the sets for HBO game of thrones. Previously, it was more commonly known as the Republic of Ragusa, its former name.

Today, millions of tourists crowd each of its narrow lanes hoping to fantasize about “King’s Landing”, the fictional royal city featured on the TV show. Previously, those who traveled to South Dalmatia, which was once the most difficult province to reach due to territorial disputes with neighboring countries, were mainly interested in history.

Young female tourist looking at the medieval citadel of Dubrovnik, Croatia, Adriatic Coast

After all, Dubrovnik (originally Ragusa) was an important trading power in the Adriatic and the wider Mediterranean, developing strong ties with the Venetians over the centuries and being a powerful Christian outpost in Europe. from the east in the face of an imminent Ottoman threat. Nowadays, Historians to fear it may have become a medieval Disneyland.

In 2016, UNESCO issued a stern warning to Dubrovnik, urging the city council to limit the number of visitors or losing its World Heritage Site status. Since 2019, the number of tourists inside the walls cannot exceed 4,000 per dayand surveillance cameras have been set up to control entrances and exits.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

In addition, Dubrovnik has started cracking down on Airbnb rentalswhich locals blame for an increase in rental costs and for driving them out of the Old Town itself – after all, a majority of visitors hope to stay in the walled complex, and the massive conversion of traditional Dalmatian houses in tourist accommodation is strongly contested by locals.

If you dream of a holiday in Dubrovnik and/or Southern Dalmatia, the southernmost tip of Croatia, we advise you to travel sustainably. This means booking accommodation with certified providers, opting for a longer stay instead of a single day visit, making a minimal contribution to the local economy and avoiding peak travel season.

Barcelona, ​​Spain

Barcelona beach, Catalonia, Spain on tourism

A European gem that has always struggled with mass tourism, Barcelona is not only unhappy with the number of visitors it receives, it is actively fight to chase them away one way or another — even if it means openly clashing with Spain’s Supreme Court. You read that right: Gaudi’s heart will do everything in his power to limit tourism.

We understand why travelers would want to make the capital of Catalonia their holiday destination: it has all the advantages of being in Europe, including an incredibly well-preserved Latin Quarter dating back to the Middle Ages, but it is equally famous for its modern seaside promenade. , beaches and vibrant nightlife. History buffs and beach goers love it.

Colorful wall and art sculpture of Gaudi Close Up in Barcelona, ​​Catalonia, Spain

On the other hand, Barcelona receives as many tourists in a year as a large country like Mexico. Before Covid, it reached a record number of 32 million visitors, prompting the Catalan government to severely limit short-term private room rentals, including Airbnb, or strongly advise against owners to rent out their own properties.

In fact, in 2021 the city banned all short-term rentals for less than a month, although this controversial decision was quickly overturned by Spain’s Supreme Court. Even then, Barcelona refuse to go down without a fight and joined 22 other European cities in demanding that the EU adopt stricter regulations on holiday rentals.

Venice, Italy

View of the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Venice is a must-see destination for millions of people. Every year, cruise passengers and day-trippers flock to its charming canals and arched bridges in hopes of getting the perfect Instagram shot or a glimpse of the Old Republic’s glorious past as a major Mediterranean force. Naturally, some of Italy’s main landmarks can be found here:

Venice is home to St. Mark’s Campanile, the iconic Bridge of Sighs, Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, the small island municipality of Burano, with its own leaning bell tower, and many more. Unfortunately, large-scale tourism has become unsustainable for such an old city and architecturally unique like Venice.

Crowd in front of the Doge's Palace, Venice, Italy on tourism

Perhaps due to his vulnerable position, he opted for the hardest measure on the table: Venice will turn into an attraction and start loading input for non-residents. From January 2023, those hoping to take gondola rides on the Grand Canal or sample Venetian cuisine for a day will need to pre-book their tour and pay a fee.

The controversial move follows a ban that was introduced earlier on large cruises, which since 2021 have not been allowed to enter the canals and must, instead, dock at a nearby industrial port. Italy as a whole pledges to reduce crowdswith cities like Rome and Florence raising tourist taxes and the Amalfi Coast implementing an alternative car plate system.

Bali, Indonesia

Tourists watch traditional Balinese Kecak dance at Uluwatu temple in Bali, Indonesia

Bali is Indonesia’s most popular province, and it’s not hard to see why. It is a territory dotted with volcanoes and rice terraces as far as the eye can see that has recently established itself as a trendy party center for backpackers and young people. Whether you are looking for wellness/nature or nightlife, Bali is the place to be.

It is one of the few destinations in the world where these two worlds coexist peacefully and where different traveler profiles rub shoulders, but this versatility has led to traffic jams and attractions. overrun with tourists. Interestingly, unlike Europe, public reaction to the phenomenon has been mixed.

Aerial view of a Hilton Hotel Resort at the beach, Bali, Indonesia

Yes, locals may miss the calm they experienced during the months of lockdown, but they surely welcome the pouring of dollars into their pockets. As for the Indonesian government, it is perhaps the only authority on this list that not actively involved with mass tourism, as no concrete effort has been made to face the crowd.

Earlier this year, the tourism minister revealed plans to promote Bali as a “serenity, spirituality and sustainability” destination, as opposed to just a beach hotspot. This campaign focused on the less visited areas of Bali, particularly the north and west, but they don’t seem to have been as successful, with tourism is still concentrated in the already developed South.

Backpacker looking at Wat Pho temple in Indonesia, Southeast Asia

In total, the Nusa Islands, part of the province of Bali, now host 1,000 to 1,500 visitors per dayalready one extremely high number given that Indonesia had been isolated from the outside world throughout the pandemic. Mass tourism has also been noted on the tourist route between Kuta and Ubud, and of course, from Nusa Penida to Seminyak.

For more information on overtourism and other destinations that have been affected, please visit this link.

Read more:

Travel insurance that covers Covid-19 for 2022

New high-speed trains link Italy’s main cities

France to limit tourists to popular attractions to combat overtourism

Thailand beach made famous by DiCaprio movie will close again due to overtourism

Hawaii faces overtourism with Maui planning to limit tourist numbers

This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your upcoming trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com

↓ Join the community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB Group has all the latest reopening news, conversations and daily Q&As!


Enter your email address to subscribe to the latest travel news from Travel Off Path, straight to your inbox

Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice

Previous Gallery delle Fontane – Parma, Italy
Next The Vatican Basilica is the backdrop for a new film about St. Peter