In a bid to curb overtourism which is causing damage to the environment, Venice will monitor tourists to cut down congestion at major tourists spots. Venice’s economy is largely fuelled by tourism - the city receives nearly 3 crore tourists annually, and this number is growing. However, a large number of tourists (around 30,000 tourists during summer) arrive by cruise lines, are day-trippers and contribute little to the economy. The ships add on to the pollution and destroy the lagoon that Venice sits on.
This has prompted the local Government to put into place measures to curb tourists and monitor their flow. Last year, Venice had made plans of banning cruise ships from docking in the city, however, that did not materialise. Venice has now reportedly installed a system of sensors and cameras which can intercept data from mobile phones to help curb overcrowding at tourist spots.
Tourism, while economically beneficially to a destination, can be harmful if uncontrolled. Like Venice, a number of other popular tourist destinations are facing the dangers of overtourism and are taking various measures to curb it. We take a look:
The picturesque Flemish city of Bruges, which became even more famous after the 2018 film, In Bruges, receives around 90 lakh visitors annually. To avoid its Disneyfication, Bruges has been taking stringent measures to crack down on overtourism. This includes limiting the number of cruise ships docked in the port to two at any point of time, ending all advertisements promoting Bruges as a day trip destination and aiming for quality tourists who stay longer and invest more locally, instead. Image by Image credit: Eduardo Ruiz from Pixabay Ever since being featured in the Game of Thrones, Croatia’s Dubrovnik has become one of the most sought after destinations in the world with GoT enthusiasts and regular tourists alike. The city receives nearly 1.5 million tourists annually – a large number considering its small size. This has prompted Mayor Mato Frankovi to clamp down on overtourism by drawing measures such as regulating the timing of cruise ships and limiting it to two cruise ships a day with a maximum of 5,000 visitors, installing security cameras at city entrances to monitor and track visitors, and cutting down on restaurant tables and souvenir stands. By dronepicr - The Old Port of Dubrovnik, Croatia, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82205228 Image credit: By dronepicr - The Old Port of Dubrovnik, Croatia, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82205228 Image credit: Known as much for its cobbled streets and quaint canals as it is for its hip nightlife, Amsterdam has borne the brunt of its popularity as a tourism destination. The city saw nearly 19 million visitors in 2018 and this number is estimated to grow to 21 million, annually in 2021. This has prompted the tourism department to put in measures. In 2018, the City Council removed the iconic I Amsterdam sign in front of the Rijksmuseum that had become a favourite selfie spot. This was in part to reduce tourist intensity and also because it was considered to be too individualistic. The Netherlands has also stopped promoting its capital as a tourist destination and has shifted its focus to smaller towns and cities. Further, touring past 10 pm and tours to its red-light district will be banned from April 1, 2020, while the city's mayor is also considering banning tourists from cannabis cafes in a bid to stop them from misbehaving. Image by Image credit: Abhishek Baadkar from Pixabay Located around 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands is a classic example of how tourism can threaten native habitats. Since the 1970s, when the Islands were first opened to tourists, around 1,579 foreign species have been introduced mostly by the humans visiting the islands, either accidentally or intentionally. In 2007, the United Nations added Galapagos, the island that inspired Darwin's theory of Evolution, to its List of World Heritage in Danger. While curtailing tourists is a challenge for an economy which relies heavily on tourism, Galapagos authorities are trying to bring in curbs. Around 97 per cent of the area has been designated as part of the national park, with the area monitored carefully and visitors are only allowed to visit designated areas with an authorised naturalist guide. Further, tourists need to adhere to around 14 rules, which include sticking to designated trails and a ban on motorised aquatic sports and aerial tourism in the Marine Reserve and National Park. Image credit : By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42475111 In 2018, as planeloads of people descended upon the golden shores of Spain's Mallorca, they were met with protestors holding placards bearing slogans such as "Terror of the seas tourists leave" and "One Airline Every Minute is Not Sustainable!" Hotels in the capital city, Palma, were also vandalised while protestors parked themselves in front of the international airport. Such is the level of frustration that the locals have for the hordes of tourists that arrive in planes and cruise ships every day. Unchecked tourism has led to high rentals which have affected residents. To address this, authorities in Palma issued a ban in 2018 against all Airbnb-style rentals of flats. The authorities have also introduced a tourist tax of Eur 4 for those staying in luxury hotels, Eur 3 for mid-range accommodation and Eur 2 for cruise ships. The proceeds are used to fund conservation activities and make tourism sustainable. Image credit: Image by facundohimself from Pixabay According to reports, Barcelona receives around 32 million tourists annually and most of the city attractions, including the famed La Rambla street, the city's beaches and Sagrada Familia Basilica, are crowded with tourists. The city is increasingly shutting its doors to tourists with the city opening its doors to migrants, while making it clear that tourists are not welcome. In 2019, its Mayor, Ada Colau had pledged to cut down cruise ships and limit the expansion of its airport to cut down on pollution and limit tourists. Barcelona also approved a law in 2017 which limits the number of beds awvailable in hotels and tourist apartments. Barcelina received a record number of cruise tourists in 2018, 3 million. Cruise tourists alsoc ontribute to very little to the economy- only Eur 57, while adding on to the problem of overcrowding. Image credit: Image by TRAVELKR from Pixabay After its discovery in 1911, the World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu, the 15th century Inca citadel, has seen its tourist numbers go up from dramatically. In just 20 years the numbers grew from less than 4 lakh tourists to 14 lakh tourists in 2017. With tourism being a mainstay of the economy, Peru had plans of developing the site by building a ropeway and a luxury hotel, which were opposed by the locals. It was after UNESCO threatened to put the heritage site on its Endangered list that the Government decided to take steps to curb tourism. Since July 1, 2017, Peruvian authorities have been restricting tourists to two timed entries per day with only 5,000 tickets available daily. However, this number is still way above the destination's carrying capacity, which as per experts can take only around 750 people. Image by Image credit: Eduardo Ruiz from Pixabay That Rome is a hugely popular tourist destination is a given, but the capital city has been groaning under the weight of all these tourists. From threatening historical monuments to causing room rents to hike up drastically, uncontrolled tourism has put a strain on the city and its resources. The authorities have now banned tourist coaches from near famous sites. Tourists are also prohibited from jumping into the fountains, sitting on the Spanish Steps, snacking near sites and dressing up as gladiators or other historical character or sit on the Spanish Steps. Image by Image credit: Elijah Lovkoff from Pixabay Home to 1,800 komodo dragons, the largest living reptiles in the world reminiscent of the dinosaurs, the Komodo Island in Indonesia have been paying the price of popularity. After the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry caught smugglers trying to sell Komodo Dragons on the black market, the authorities decided to close the island to visitors for a year. The plan was shelved, but authorities may introduce visitor fees of USD 1,000 to restrict visitor numbers and screen the kind of travellers who will visit the Island. Mount Everest would be the last place one would expect a traffic jam, but with its slopes on the bucket list of most climbers, the mountain has been seeing more climbers trying to navigate their way across it, and even losing their lives on its treacherous slopes. Mount Everest has also been referred to as the world's highest dumping ground due to the amount of rubbish that has been left behind by climbers. In 2019, a special team tasked to clean the slopes, picked up 3 metric tonnes of waste, which included discarded bottles and plastic bags, fluorescent tents and even human excrement. The Nepalese Government has been taking measures to curb climbers. This includes increasing the fee for foreign climbers from USD 10,000 to USD 11,000, banning single-use plastic, and banning solo climbers. Image by Image credit: David Mark from Pixabay