From Amsterdam To Venice, Cities That Are Fighting Over-Tourism With Restrictions & Curbs
War On ‘Tourorism’
Perhaps no other capital in the world is fighting back tourists with as much intensity as Amsterdam, a relatively small city with just 830,000 residents. Last year, it removed its much beloved ‘I Amsterdam’ signage, a favourite spot for selfie hunters. In several parts of the city centre, drinking alcohol is prohibited. And fines, even for minor offences like littering, have been raised drastically. These steps have been accompanied by an aggressive marketing campaign, urging people to behave and remind them that the myth of everything is allowed in Amsterdam is, well... a myth.
Dirk de Fauw, who was elected mayor of Bruges in 2018, has drawn up strict measures in place to keep tourists at bay. The port of Zeebrugge will no longer welcome the same number of cruise ships as earlier. The city has scaled back on campaigns in other European cities that advertised the lure of Bruges as a day-trip destination. It also prohibited any new hotels being built, and banned locals from renting out their houses as holiday homes.
While tourism does add nearly $2.5 billion to the Venetian economy, tourists have been blamed for everything, from degradation of normal life to rise in sea levels. The government has planned a new dock far from the old city zone for cruise ships. Sitting or lying down in front of historic monuments or shop fronts, wandering around shirtless, and swimming in the canals are all prohibited. Hotels have been asked to encourage visitors to shun plastic bottles and drink from the water fountains installed across the city.
Among the most visited cities in the world, Paris too is feeling the pinch of over-tourism. Deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire has said tourist buses are no longer welcome in the city, and has asked visitors to walk, cycle or take public transport. Among the city’s most visited places, the Louvre museum, went on a one-day break last year after employees complained of overcrowding. But while Paris has not seen the kind of backlash from residents that were common in Amsterdam and Venice, authorities said they want to act before it’s too late.
A new entrant to the list, Dubrovnik’s 1.5 million annual tourists may pale in comparison to the other numbers seen on this list. The Croatian city is also a much smaller place. And it’s largely because of the TV show Game of Thrones, which was shot here. Mayor Mato Frankovi has lined up a ban on restaurants, prohibiting them from adding new tables and chairs, effectively limiting their size and preventing expansion. If a restaurant closes, newer ones won’t be able to take its place either.
Maya Beach, Thailand
While other places have imposed curbs on overtourism, Thailand officials have completely shut down Maya Bay, made famous in the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. The beach rose to prominence after the film was released in 2000, and following surging tourism numbers, a study revealed that 77 per cent of the coral reef was damaged. The ban was originally imposed in June 2018, and it’s been extended till at least June 2021, when officials will review if tourists may be allowed in again.