Who doesn’t love traveling, I know you do and hardly a soul would oppose, hardly a soul, right?
But even if you do belong to the part of society which happens to not like traveling that much, we understand and you’d be having your own valid reasons.
But despite such an affinity to travel and tourism, we do forget some basic principals of being a nice and responsible tourist and litter around places along with other stuff that one shouldn’t do in foreign lands.
Now, following the same course over and over, tourists from all over the places gave rise to a new problem known as ‘Over Tourism’. The name conveys the meaning behind the term and this problem could leas us to a point where all our favorite destinations across the world would be inaccessible to us.
OverTourism: A Real or Made-up Term
The word OverTourism was first coined in 2012, but it came to the forefront of the media in 2017 when residents of Barcelona and Venice took it to the streets.
Their main issue was regarding ‘too many’ tourists who were visiting the city and it hampered the locals personally.
Some of the difficulties that locals would have to face were disturbing their day to day lives and was taking a heavy toll from them, just because they happen to live in a city famous as a tourist attraction.
Outbreak’s main cause was that no one really cared about the locals and everything was strategized and planned according to the tourist only.
The government and other higher-ups were also involved in this ignorance of locals. The reason being that such states or cities are a way for the governing bodies to generate revenues from tourists and also, shine over the world map.
Over the years, the cost of traveling has gone down and easy availability of accommodations have encouraged more people to go and travel around the world. Due to popularity and advertisements, some places tend to get more tourists than others and end up being overcrowded eventually.
When too many people accumulate in an area it causes a problem, for the locals as well as for the tourists, who do not get to experience the true nature of the place.
OverTourism is spreading fast and even a place like Iceland gets about 2.3 million tourists and they only have a population of about 300,000.
In most cases, these countries or cities are not even ready to manage the sudden rise in tourism but they are flooded no matter what with tourists unwanted by the locals and worshipped by the business and governments.
Destinations affected by OverTourism:
A gondola ride in this city is a dream for many couples struck by that little cupid’s arrow and even by individuals too many times, for the city is a piece of art in itself.
But even after being one of the world’s most desirable places, the city of Venice does not shy away from making it into the headlines and that too for all bad reasons.
‘Day-trip’ tourism through cruises is one of the main problems of locals living in Venice. The soaring number of visitors has raised the rents for everything, which the locals had to put up with and increased the living prices for a normal person to a huge extent.
The city is working on the issue by limiting the number of daily sightseers and closing off areas for visitation, so to accommodate the demands of both tourists and locals at the same time.
The blue ocean and the white sandy beaches of Bali have always been an attraction but recently there has been a sudden rise in the demand.
The beautiful ecosystem of the place is quite fragile, the tourists, on the other hand, are often less careful and unsophisticated towards taking care of the same. One of the problems caused by OverTourism in Bali is the use of plastics and littering by tourists, which puts a black spot on the all-natural beauty of the place.
2019 itself saw a 10% rise in the arrival of international tourists compared to that of 2018. The parliament has thought of levying a tourist tax for international visitors to curb this problem.
The Taj Mahal attracts people from all around the world because of its beauty and well! also for being one of the ‘Wonders of the world’.
Overcrowding has always been a problem in the Taj Mahal and the Indian government had a hard time dealing with it and still hasn’t come up with a way to sustain the issue.
But, Government sure did hiked the price of tickets and put out a time boundation, locked in for a mere 3-hours visitation period.
Over-tourism has also led to a sudden rise in the number of hotels and automobiles in Agra and bout 6.8 million people visited Agra in 2018-19.
Shimla being a popular hill station in India gets a lot of tourists throughout the year. During the summer season, the problem of OverTourism rises up quite a bit and in the past, it has resulted in water shortage and problematic traffic jams.
Like other places in this list, the number of hotels, shops, and automobiles have gone up in Shimla too, along with the rate of pollution skyrocketing. Which doesn’t mean to say it’s comparable to ‘Delhi’ pollution level but it has seen a significant rise as compared to before.
Shimla’s administration hasn’t put out any rules and regulations as of yet for travelers but if conditions worse then the government might have to take some measures as well.
Compared to other places in Spain, Barcelona gets the most number of tourists which is around 32 million visitors in a year. compared to its population of just 1.6 million, that is a significantly good number of tourists and eventually are the reason behind the overcrowding of the city of Barcelona.
The city constantly tries to spend on raising the quality of infrastructure and they even charge taxes for overnight accommodations. The locals do protest against it over and over but are shushed in manipulative and political ways every other time.
Goa is a beautiful state present on the western coast of India and is the go-to place for chilling out for any Indian citizen. It has also scored a solid reputation among foreign tourists visiting India due to the dirt-cheap beer, nice weather, and availability of every such resource that is required for a weekend full of enjoyment.
But this flock of tourists causes environmental pollution and most of them have no respect for the locals. The state government tries to keep a check on the problems to bring relief but happens to fail eventually.
On new year’s eve, Goa’s streets are jampacked up to an extent where being stuck into a traffic jam for about 3 to 4 hours is not a thing of surprise.
OverTourism: Fixable or Not?
The first thing that the world needs to recognize is that ‘OverTourism’ is a problem and recognizes its existence. Educating tourists and running awareness campaigns are sone of the basic things which should be applied before things get out of hand.
Otherwise, We would be left with barren lands or destinations filled with protesting locals who deny the entry of any foreign entity into their land causing mass unrest.
Being a traveler, there are other handfuls of measures which we can also start out with for getting things under control such as:
- We should know about the place that we are visiting and littering as well as damaging should be kept in check. Even if you don’t have a very high moral compass, at least respecting a thing of value is not that hard to put up with.
- You should research about the place that they want to visit and see if there are similar alternatives which do not face OverTourism or overcrowding.
- You can also try to reach during the off-seasons when the crowd generally dwindles. This also helps local businesses, which one should always support.
- Rather than focusing on staying for a day, you should think about availing a ‘staycation’ which allows you to have a better understanding and experience of a place.
- A traveler should always learn ways to maintain eco-friendliness as pollution is one of the leading impacts of OverTourism.
It may seem a long way to go if we want to beat OverTourism, but we should train ourselves to become a little more thoughtful as a tourist. Authorities in popular tourist destinations are struggling to deal with the problems but in the end, the tourists should be responsible and ethical when they are out exploring the unknown.
If you happen to have a story about how you’ve been the victim of OverTourism, do share it in the comments and keep sharing because we want to spread the word about OverTourism until the point that the problem is recognized instead of just being an internet buzzword.