- The 2010s saw more people traveling than ever before, according to The Guardian’s report on recent figures from the World Tourism Organization.
- But millions upon millions of people going on adventures has put pressure on numerous destinations.
- Some, like Venice, have long been affected by overtourism, but others like Dubrovnik, Croatia, are facing new challenges caused by the popularity of TV shows like “Game of Thrones.”
- Already in 2020 there are issues, too – several tourists were arrested for damaging a sacred temple at Machu Picchu, CNN reports. If convicted, they could be sent to jail for a minimum of four years, according to The Independent.
- Here are 22 places around the world we’re loving to death.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Iceland has had a moment — but the attention brought by the likes of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” and Justin Bieber has had consequences.
It’s hard to think of somewhere that’s been a more “it” destination in the past decade than Iceland. There are concerns, however, about the environmental impact of the increase in tourism, impact on quality of life for locals, and whether the tourism boom is a bubble that could burst.
This could lead to serious economic challenges in a country with just 360,000 people – issues that local outlets like the English-language Reykjavik Grapevine have covered extensively. To boot, attractions like the Blue Lagoon have been deemed overrated by some.
Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos are seemingly made for Instagram — but not for the crowds.
If it wasn’t posted to Instagram, did someone visit a place at all? One could be forgiven for thinking that when it comes to Greek islands. Some locals even say that to have an authentic Greek experience you should avoid Santorini and Mykonos, or any Greek island with an airport.
Ibiza is as legendary as ever — that includes the hordes of partiers.
Sun. Sand. Surf. Clubs. And crowds. Lots of crowds. What else is new in Ibiza? These days, crowds are so intense, people are recommending going to parts of the Spanish island that don’t have bars and nightclubs.
Visiting Bali these days feels less and less as if you’re experiencing some of Indonesia’s many rich cultures.
There’s a joke among some people in Australia and New Zealand that the Indonesian island of Bali is “Sydney North.” Ben Groundwater from Traveller.com.au points out that it really can feel like that in spots, where you seem just as likely to hear people saying “g’day” and “kia ora” as you are to meet locals. There are still places you can go to get away from it all, but it does take a bit of effort.
Machu Picchu is not “hidden” anymore. Now, there’s a limit for how many people can visit a day.
These days, so many people visit, that there’s a limit of 2,500 tickets a day, according to the Inca Trail Machu blog. They are good for only four hours, do not allow re-entry, and cost $50 for adults. At least selfie sticks have been banned, as reported by the Peruvian Times.
And there continue to be problems in 2020. CNN reports six tourists were arrested after human fecal matter was discovered inside the sacred Temple of the Sun. According to The Independent, the tourists face a minimum of four years in prison if convicted of damaging Peru’s cultural heritage.
Everest also now has serious issues with overcrowding — issues that have become deadly.
“A limited number of days, too many people, too many inexperienced people, inadequate support – those all things all came together and that’s where we saw most of the deaths,” the veteran climber and Mount Everest expert Alan Arnette, who has studied the overcrowding issue for years, told Business Insider earlier this year.
Eleven people died in this year’s climbing season on Everest – and images posted to social media of huge line to reach the summit shocked many people. But while hundreds of people now reach the summit annually, many more just trek to Base Camp – leaving several tons of garbage and human waste behind. In sum: The world’s highest mountain is being desecrated.
Dubai is synonymous with glitz and glam — and lots of tourists.
As reported by Gulf Business, Dubai is one of the world’s most visited cities and leads everywhere in tourist spend (a whopping $553 a person a day, almost double that of second-place Paris, where tourists spend $296 a person a day).
But all those visitors spending all that money means personal space can come at a premium – literally (as anyone who’s tried to book a cabana or table at one of the emirate’s beach clubs can attest). It remains to be seen how the much-hyped Expo 2020 might affect things.
Petra, Jordan, once had an otherworldly feel, thanks to a starring role in an “Indiana Jones” movie. That’s not quite the case today.
The climax of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was filmed in Petra, Jordan. While it certainly is an impressive sight that can conjure all kinds of treasure-hunting fantasies, a lot of other people seem to have the same idea – crowds can be pushy, merchants even pushier (not to mention price gouges), and overall it can feel like anything but an escape from everyday life.
Venice, Italy, is the first place many people think of when they hear the word “overtourism.”
So many stories have been written about overtourism and Venice that they’ve basically become synonymous with each other in many people’s minds. Locals for years have expressed fear of their city being turned into “Veniceland,” according to DW Akademie.
Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne can get especially packed in the summer.
The word “crowded” features a lot in online reviews of Lucerne and the surrounding area. According to Swissinfo it has been a concern for a while, and it comes as no surprise the issue is especially acute during the warmer summer months.
Portland, Oregon, is very different from the way it’s portrayed in “Portlandia.”
Yes, people sometimes do put birds on things as they did in the cult IFC show “Portlandia.” But – and this is coming from someone who grew up near the Rose City – a lot of the things shown in the series stretch reality, to put it mildly.
The problem is a large number of folks seem to think PDX really is all about honest folk music, quirky coffee shops, and dreaming of the ’90s. It’s not. If anything, you’ll see more dads in Old Navy than with piercings and tribal tattoos.
Dubrovnik, Croatia, has been inundated with “Game of Thrones” fans …
Dubrovnik was the filming location for King’s Landing in the wildly popular HBO adaptation of “Game of Thrones” – and, not unlike how Daenerys Targaryen’s army was able to storm the city, real-life Dubrovnik is struggling against the horde of smartphone and selfie-stick-wielding tourists.
One thing that’s been done is capping the number of cruise ships allowed to dock each day, The Independent reports. But it may be too little to win the battle.
… just like how Forks, Washington, still gets swamped by “Twilight” devotees.
Having grown up nearby, I can say that Forks and the surrounding Olympic Peninsula have an almost supernatural beauty – the towering old growth forests, with the ground carpeted in soft, moist moss, are just so unbelievably green.
A safety tip: While there are no vampires or werewolves (sorry to disappoint), there are bears and cougars. And unlike a certain Edward Cullen, they are not likely to fall in love with any humans they encounter.
Burning Man is in danger of becoming burnt out, thanks to the crowds and commercialization.
As ever-increasing numbers of celebrities, the ultra-wealthy, and even ordinary folks attend Burning Man each year in the Nevada desert, there’s concern the event could be losing its way. At the most recent edition, a $100,000-a-ticket camp favored by influencers was banned, following backlash from fellow attendees.
Berlin is “poor but sexy” — and also gentrifying.
Berlin is, as always, Berlin, and is “poor but sexy,” as former Mayor Klaus Wowereit famously declared. But more people want to experience Berlin to the fullest – just look at how long the lines are these days to try to get into Berghain. Rising rents and gentrification are also killing the vibe – plus, it’s hard to make money from a club.
While the Maldives are still gorgeous (and expensive), large numbers of tourists and climate change are threatening locals’ way of life.
The Maldives are now synonymous with luxury tropical escapes. But all those fancy overwater bungalows are filled with tourists, not local people. The Independent reports that environmental impact is a concern, for one. And then there’s the issue of climate change and rising sea levels – many of the nation’s islands could be underwater before this century ends, according to The Telegraph.
La Pelosa in northwestern Sardinia is so crowded, officials plan to start charging admission.
La Pelosa is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches – and thus extremely crowded. As many as 6,000 people visit the beach during the day in the summer months.
To counter the ever-growing influx, CNN reports, officials in the town of Stintino (about 2 miles away) plan to start charging visitors admission. Mayor Antonio Diana said it’s expected to be about €4, or $4.40, to help cut tourist numbers to roughly 1,500 visitors a day.
Maya Bay in Thailand, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach,” has been closed because of overtourism.
Expected to be closed until 2021, Maya Bay was dealing with up to 5,000 tourists a day, which the BBC reports was harming native coral. In the Philippines, Boracay was shut for similar reasons, but it has since reopened.
Hallstatt, Austria, is another place that has drawn crowds because of Instagram.
As Insider’s Rachel Hosie wrote when she visited, Hallstatt may look as if it’s straight out of “Frozen,” but she said: “Despite the adorable buildings and natural scenery of Hallstatt, I found it hard to enjoy it. I found myself craving space, peace, and quiet, and was desperate to find somewhere not rammed with people.”
India’s Taj Mahal is also struggling with a rising influx of international visitors.
To try to reduce overcrowding, authorities introduced fines for people who stay at the Taj Mahal too long. Ticket prices have also been increased, according to CNN. But the huge crowds and neglect means the site is at risk.
Crowds converging on the set of Bronx stairs made famous by “Joker” are disrupting locals’ lives.
Not everyone is happy about the large numbers of tourists stopping to pose for pictures on a stairway that many Bronx locals use daily. Things have even gotten testy at times: In October, someone was filmed throwing eggs at people taking pictures at the stairway.
The Netherlands is a leader in promoting sustainability — so the “I amsterdam” sign was taken down to try to stem the tide of mass tourism.
Amsterdam’s “I amsterdam” sign was iconic – so much so, Dezeen reports, that it was taken down in part because of concerns it was encouraging mass tourism. In another move, tours of Amsterdam’s well-known red-light district will be banned starting in 2020.