Written by 18:06 Business

Global Hot Spots Take Aim at Overtourism

A new tourist fee in Bali. Higher hotel taxes in Amsterdam and Paris. Stricter rules on public drinking in Milan and Majorca. Ahead of the summer travel season, leaders in many tourist spots have adopted measures to tame the tourist crowds — or at least earn more revenue from them.

All of this may pose headaches for travelers, although in most cases, the new fees or tax increases represent only a tiny fraction of the total cost of a trip. The goal is to ensure that tourism functions smoothly for visitors and locals alike, said Megan Epler Wood, managing director of the Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program at Cornell University.

“All tourism is dependent on beautiful natural and cultural resources. You have to protect those resources in order to be a viable tourism destination — and if you don’t, they degrade,” Ms. Epler Wood said.

In some places, proposals for new fees or visitor rules have drawn opposition from residents, who fear they might scare away the tourists who bolster the local economy. But destinations need to find ways to counteract what Ms. Epler Wood calls “the invisible burden” of tourism, which includes strains on a community’s infrastructure, utilities and housing stock, as well as tourists’ carbon footprint and any challenges they might impose on residents’ daily lives.

“You put so much pressure on the place that the people who live there become unhappy, and then they don’t present a very good face to tourists,” Ms. Epler Wood said. “The longer you wait, the higher the cost to fix it.”

Here is a look at new measures that travelers can expect this summer, and where others might be coming in the future.

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Last modified: 4 June 2024
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