The phenomenon of over-tourism is spreading across Europe. With the masses of tourists arriving in the continent’s metropolises, more and more opponents of uncontrolled travel are arising amongst the locals of the respective cities. However, not only peaceful opponents are active, the number of the more radical ones is on the rise as well.
In Spain, a Catalonian group that considers itself a “leftist, separatist and feminist” organization is conducting various activities to point out the alleged destructive effects of tourism. In Barcelona, for example, they use graffiti and property damage under the hashtag #TouristsGoHome. In Mallorca, last year, locals threw confetti at tourists.
In Barcelona, it once went so far that in 2017 a couple of masked men stopped a full bus of people, broke the tires of the bus and sprayed the phrase “tourism kills neighborhoods” on the windshield.
In Paris, the residents on rue Crémieux want to get the 12th arrondissement closed for tourists at certain times, such as weekends. “It has become hell,” said a resident.
Cruise tourism is one of the biggest sources of mass tourists. For many cities, cruise tourists are the biggest problems because they arrive in large numbers, flood the streets and leave little money during their short stay.
In Dubrovnik, Croatia, only two cruise ships are allowed to dock every day, leaving a maximum of 5,000 tourists on land. Due to the “invasion” of tourists, the city risks losing its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kotor in Montenegro is also under pressure to reduce the number of cruise tourists. UNESCO is worried about the city’s fortress and about the deep bay on which it lies.
Many destinations such as Venice have taken measures to tackle over-tourism. The Italian city has set an entry fee in the fight against fast-moving mass tourism and it is apparently only the beginning and could soon expand to other European cities. The important thing is to find a balance between the necessities and needs of locals and visitors of respective destinations.