Overtourism has become an increasingly serious problem in recent years and months, leaving iconic destinations throughout Europe and Asia struggling to respond and implement regulations to help manage a rising tide of visitors.
The challenge facing such popular destinations is to not only help return some normalcy for locals, but also to maintain the very character and charm that has made these legendary cities so appealing in the first place.
Responsible Travel, a company that has been outspoken on this issue, has conducted research and produced a brief documentary on overtourism and found that 98 destinations in 63 countries are suffering under the strains of what it calls a global, spreading crisis.
“Overtourism” was one of the Oxford English Dictionary’s Words of the Year in 2018. The concept is simple, says Responsible Travel CEO Justin Francis.
It’s when there are too many visitors in a single destination, to the detriment of local communities, infrastructure, and the natural environment, which results in a poor experience for the visitors themselves.
When overtourism is discussed, people tend to think of cities, because the problems there are more obvious. But fragile national parks, ancient monuments, and islands are just as vulnerable, Francis says.
“When you visit somewhere less touristy, everyone wins,” Francis added. “You’ll be putting money into local communities that often get overlooked, and you’ll be easing the burden on overcrowded sites.
What’s more, you’ll get a more rewarding experience on your holiday. That’s the win-win of responsible tourism.”
Here are some beautiful destinations that Responsible Travel has identified for Cheapism as being plagued by overtourism and 24 options to consider instead for your next vacation.