Travel News

Travel Tip: How Overtourism Affects Popular Destinations

Locations in this article:  Barcelona, Spain Venice, Italy

It’s called overtourism.

That’s when a popular place may be loved too much.

Talk to the Mayor of Maui, Hawaii, or the Premier in Bermuda, or the Mayors of Venice or Barcelona, and they will tell you they have a problem—too many visitors.

As a result, their infrastructure is taxed beyond its limits, and their own citizens may feel like they are being crowded out by visiting travelers.

Consider this: in Venice, more people visit every day than actually live there. St. Mark’s Square is often jammed.

I now call the Bridge of Sighs the Bridge of Thighs—hordes of tourists, each carrying a selfie stick, make it impossible to move.

The mayor of Barcelona publicly worries about the city becoming another Venice.

Speaking of Venice, consider the cruise ship effect. Last year, 1.6 million people either arrived or left Venice by cruise ship.

It’s now the third busiest port in the Mediterranean.

The city just banned large cruise ships from using the city’s terminal.

Until now, huge ships could enter the Venetian lagoon and proceed through central Venice.

Local residents have claimed the ship’s tower over the city and are threatening the foundations of centuries-old Venetian buildings.

The immediate takeaway here: if you want to visit Venice, Barcelona, Bermuda, or even Maui, schedule your trip in the off season when you can still enjoy the beauty and essence of the destination, without being forced to rub shoulders with all the other high season travelers.

You should expect more regulations to come.

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