Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.
Discover the 11 tourist hotspots that have become victims of their own popularity as overcrowding threatens to ruin their travel experience.
From the breathtaking landscapes of Santorini to the historic charm of Amsterdam, join us as we reveal the 11 most overcrowded tourist destinations around the world.
Blending city life with beach vibes, Barcelona has always been a hot spot for tourists looking for the best of both worlds. But levels have been reaching boiling point throughout the last decade. The discontent among Catalan locals led to street protests in 2017, and you’ll see plenty of street art explicitly calling out overtourism. In 2022, Barcelona introduced noise restrictions and tourist group sizes to try and appease the Catalan people.
Bali’s allure has always been in its breathtaking landscapes and affordable prices; unfortunately, these have been the very attractions that are causing its destruction. The Indonesian island has long drawn in young travelers looking to party and those who pay little respect to its upkeep and protection. To try and combat this, the Indonesian government will start implementing a tourist tax in mid-2024 to help tackle the damages its ecosystem has endured from unruly vacationers.
The second most visited European city, Paris is struggling to handle its yearly tourism numbers. From fine dining to historical art, it’s a city on most travelers’ bucket lists, but many are finding their experience overshadowed by crowds. Back in 2019, the Louvre Museum, home to the Mona Lisa, shut due to overcrowding. Its workers staged a walkout and only reopened after their union representatives met with the museum’s management.
Much like Bali, Boracay in the Philippines has unfortunately picked up a reputation for being the place to go for full moon parties and endless drinking. The island actually closed for six months in 2018 due to excessive litter and sewerage issues wreaking havoc on the island.
There are two sides of Santorini, one during the off-season, where it’s a quiet haven, and the other in the summer, where it morphs into an overcrowded nightmare. Every inch of the Greek island is overflowing with the 2 million visitors it receives each year. When you consider there are only 15,000 residents, it’s no surprise Santorini can’t handle the tourists at these levels.
People flock to Banff and its National Park in Canada throughout the year – and who can blame them? With its beautiful snowcapped mountains in the winter and refreshing lakes to dip a toe or two in, it’s a must-visit destination for many. In recent years, tourism numbers have continued to grow, not counting the COVID travel restrictions, and you’ll find yourself fighting through crowds in the park’s famous sites, including Lake Louise.
After HBO’s Game of Thrones propelled Dubrovnik, Croatia, into the mainstream, the city has seen unprecedented levels of tourism. The Old City area, famously depicted as King’s Landing, has become a pilgrimage site for show enthusiasts, fuelled by guided tours and various related activities.
If you ask someone to name a city in Italy, there’s a very good chance Venice will be the first one uttered from their mouth. That seems to be the case for tourists, too, who all want to see the city’s famous canals. Despite its oversized popularity, Venice is actually a very small city, and it was not built for many visitors. With a newly installed tourist tax put in place, we’ll have to wait and see if tourism numbers drop.
Mount Everest, Nepal
A few years ago, images emerged of hundreds of climbers queuing to ascend Mount Everest’s final ridge. Soon after, pictures spread across social media of trash across Everest’s trail and its base camp. The overcrowding can turn deadly, too. So far in 2023, 17 people have passed away on the mountain, 15 more than 2022’s numbers, with it on course to be its most deadly year in history.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
America’s first national park, and widely considered the first in the world, Yellowstone is under huge stress from overcrowding. With travel restrictions preventing Americans from vacationing abroad, the park had 4.8 million visitors in 2021. That’s 1.8 million more people than recorded in 2008. With traffic increasing, animals have been growing increasingly distressed, and the park’s infrastructure is struggling to meet demand.
A city known for its wild nights and carefree adult activities, Amsterdam is now trying to clean up its reputation. Earlier in 2023, the city put out an ad campaign discouraging young people from traveling there if they’re interested in drinking, prostitution, and drugs. The city council has also approved a proposed ban on cruise ships disembarking passengers onto its streets. So, unless you’re interested in the city’s beautiful architecture or history, it’s time to find a new party capital!
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