Overtourism -- A boom for Tourism Industry?

Overtourism -- A boom for Tourism Industry?

Overtourism -- A boom for Tourism Industry?

By Disha Suresh

There is no doubt that the tourism industry is booming. Incomes and standards of living are going up, resulting in more people taking vacations to countries abroad. In 2018, there were apparently 1.4 billion tourist arrivals globally. Evidently, it becomes quite challenging for infamous tourist spots to maintain their sanctity and pure state with so many tourists thronging the locations. This poses insurmountable risks in the preservation of ancient monuments that are in delicate and vulnerable conditions. Natural landscapes too are at risk of pollution and overcrowding. Here is a list of places that have been ruined by excessive tourism. 

  1. Venice, Italy – Venice is slowly sinking, who does not know of it? This has quite possibly induced a sense of urgency amongst tourists to experience the romance and wonder of this city before it becomes impossible. But presently, its canals are overcrowded and there is a huge risk to its historical sites. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is frantically taking measures to limit the tourist flow and the city itself has strict policies.
  2. Rome, Italy – Yet another Italian city is experiencing rapid tourist inflow. The Trevi fountain cannot be spotted amongst the hundreds of tourists and the Spanish Steps are impossible to take. The iconic Colosseum is at risk of becoming unstable as well. Restoration efforts costs millions of Euros and are proving to be in vain. 
  3. Dubrovnik, Croatia – This location sky-rocketed in fame due to HBO’s fantasy show Game of Thrones. When more fans wanted to immerse themselves into King’s Landing, the city realized that it was not prepared to handle the sheer magnitude of tourists. The city council then decided to limit the maximum number of tourists to 4000 per day.
  4. Barcelona, Spain – This rich Spanish city was one of the first in the world to experience the adverse affects of tourism. Tourists would block traffic and even disrupt the daily lives of locals. This took a violent turn when protestors against tourism attacked a tour bus in 2017. 
  5. Machu Picchu, Peru – This symbol of the ancient Inca civilization has an average of 4000 visitors a day, which is alarming. UNESCO alerted the Peruvian tourism authority to take immediate measures to avoid damages that are caused by tourists who show little respect to the vulnerability of such a monument.
  6. Santorini, Greece – Santorini, a small island in Greece can be characterized by its flashing white buildings with blue roofs. This makes for picturesque backgrounds, and, you guessed it, tourists. The population on this tiny island is a mere 15,000, while its annual tourist inflow per year is around 800,000. Vacationers choose to visit Santorini on luxurious cruise ships that also crowd the silent Mediterranean bays. 
  7. Pyramids of Giza, Giza – The Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest on this planet. The Pyramids have witnessed invasions, Christianity, Islam, storms and rains. However, their future is at doubt due to tourism. Ancient structures that are a part of the pyramids and the Sphinx are slowly chipping away due to adulteration by tourists. 
  8. Paris, France- Paris is the most visited city in the world. The main attraction though, is not the magnificent Eiffel Tower, or the gorgeous Versailles Palace; it is the Louvre. In 2017, around 8.1 million tourists entered the museum to catch a glimpse of one specific piece of art, the infamous Mona Lisa. However, a visitor to the museum would be surprised to catch a glimpse of frantic tourists waving their mobile phones up to capture the coy smile of the fair lady, than the painting itself. 

 Conclusively, by all means, one has to experience the world and the fruits it has to offer. But it is necessary to realize that these places are probably home to someone, or that centuries of work and restoration went into preserving something for the world to learn from. Humans must not make history and nature surrender to their self-interest, rather they must play an active role in preserving them.