The United Nations estimates that the world population will reach 8.5 billion in 2030. This projected increase in the world population will undoubtedly have a direct impact on the number of tourists. Moreover, according to the UN World tourism Organisation, an extra 50 million international tourists are expected annually between now and 2030, mostly from Asia.
Especially due to the popularity of some tourist destinations on social media, many city dwellers are worried about the tourist density, while new tourism practices are on the agenda for touristic areas to cope with the crowds of people.
Tourism overload has become a common concern for many tourist cities and regions, with many cities starting to worry about too many tourists rather than too few. Lionel Saul, a research fellow at EHL Hospitality Business School, said that the rise of budget airlines, short-term rentals and cruise ships are part of the problem, while Tatyana Tsukanova, a research fellow at the same school in Lausanne, Switzerland, said that social media influencers, films and television shows are also driving many people to the same places, with many people who are visible on social media coming to tourist destinations, taking a nice selfie, posting it on social media and then leaving, increasing the popularity of the area.
Tsukanova, a research assistant in Switzerland, said that after the small Austrian village of Hallstatt, which is said to be the inspiration for Disney's blockbuster Frozen series, was featured in a South Korean television series, the authorities built a wall at a popular viewpoint in Halstatt, and that the 800 residents saw maybe 1 million tourists a year, but the wall was removed by the village authorities after the reactions on the internet.
Other cities have set a limit on daily visitors to prevent this excess. This is the case in tourist areas such as Machu Picchu in Peru, the Acropolis in Athens, Borobudur in Indonesia and the beaches in Sardinia. Moreover, large cruise ships (Venice, Bora Bora) are restricted in some of the more compact enclaves.
Amsterdam, which has been called a pioneer city in the fight against overtourism, has taken strict measures against buses, tourist shops, new hotel openings and Airbnb-style house rentals. Amsterdam is also considering banning cruise ships and moving the city's famous Red Light district out of the city centre. The Dutch capital launched a unique travel campaign in April telling some visitors, particularly young male British tourists, to stay away if they were travelling to the city for drugs or partying.
Some cities target travellers' wallets and fine bad behaviour. Venice fines travellers for consuming drinks or food on the ground, swimming in canals and walking around in swimsuits. However, starting next year, the city will try a new tactic and charge day-trippers $5. New tourism taxes will be introduced in valencia in Spain, Manchester in the UK, as well as Thailand and Iceland. According to local reports, bali will also charge travellers a $10 tax from February 2024.
While economic restrictions are only part of the measures, research shows that fines and fees alone cannot prevent overtourism. For this, co-operation is also needed between cities, sites, local businesses and residents. Emphasising that the key to overcoming overtourism lies in the flow of tourists, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, said that new technologies can help solve this problem and that the problem is to manage the flow of people.
To overcome the crowds without giving up tourism revenues, some countries are encouraging travellers to visit less travelled areas in their country. Indonesia, for example, introduced 10 New Bali in 2016 to introduce travellers to other beautiful parts of the country, later reducing it to 5 New Bali. According to The Japan Times, Japanese tourism authorities are pushing travellers to visit rural areas of the country where half of the municipalities are at risk of disappearing by 2040 due to population decline.