Sunday 22 September 2019

A Timeline of Overtourism: Key moments in the global battle between locals and travellers

More and more destinations are taking drastic action as visitor numbers grow

Crowds throng the Red light district (Wallen) in Amsterdam. Photo: Deposit
Crowds throng the Red light district (Wallen) in Amsterdam. Photo: Deposit
Crowds walking in the Leidsestraat, one of the main shopping streets in Amsterdam. Photo: Deposit
Hvar, where impressive Venetian-era houses proudly line the broad waterfront and bay. Photo: Deposit

Greg Dickinson

This week Amsterdam’s main political parties announced radical measures to curb the so-called “Disneyfication” of the Dutch capital.

A coalition of four parties issued a pledge of agreed reforms to “provide balance in the city”, including banning short-term Airbnb rentals, diverting cruise ships from docking in the centre, and cracking down on the beer bikes popular with British stag dos.

The tourist tax will also be raised from four per cent to seven.

It is not the only destination taking drastic action to fight against the negative impacts of tourism - in the past 18 months, the problems surrounding mass tourism have intensified around the world.

Here's a month-by-month timeline of the key battlegrounds.

January 2017

A protesters carry a banner that reads, "Barcelona: Tourist welcome, locals not welcome" during a demonstration in Barcelona on June 10, 2017 against what they claim is a lack of control by the city's tourism management. Photo: AFP

Barcelona unveils law to curb tourism

Officials give the go-ahead for new legislation aimed at curbing tourism. The law limits the construction of hotels and stops licenses being issued to new tourist accommodation rentals.

May 2017

Botswana introduces a steep tourism tax

All tourists arriving in Botswana are now subject to a $30 (about €25) tax, in an effort to raise money to support conservation in the safari hotspot.

June 2017

Punta Ballena, Magaluf, in 2014. Photo: JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images

Magaluf cracks down on anti-social tourists

New rules unveiled by the local council mean that misbehaving tourists could be fined up to €3,000 (£2,620). The long list of banned activities includes the obvious (urinating, spitting, and being naked on the streets), as well as the more unusual (climbing trees).

More: 'Low quality youth' no longer welcome in Ayia Napa, mayor warns 

Venice plans to ban new hotels

Massimiliano de Martin, Venice’s councillor for urban planning, submits a plan that he describes as essential “for the protection of the city”. It will prevent new holiday accommodation from opening in the historic centre.

More: Venice, 'slowly dying of tourism', considers charges for day-trippers 

Machu Picchu restricts visitors

Anyone journeying to the citadel on its Andean mountaintop will need a ticket for either the morning (6am-midday) or the afternoon (midday-5.30pm). Anyone wanting to linger on the site for longer than their allotted session will need to buy a ticket for both time-segments.

July 2017

Hvar, Croatia.jpg
Hvar, where impressive Venetian-era houses proudly line the broad waterfront and bay. Photo: Deposit

Hvar, Croatia, punishes misbehaving tourists

Consuming alcohol in the street will now invite a €700 fine from the authorities, who have erected signs that list various offences and corresponding penalties. Men walking around with their shirts off will reportedly be slapped with a €500 fine, while women wandering around in swimsuits can expect to pay €600.

Anti-tourism protesters slash tyres in Barcelona

A disturbing assault takes place on an open-top tour bus as it pulls up outside the Camp Nou stadium. The incident saw the vehicle’s tyres slashed and graffiti daubed onto its sides - many on board feared they were caught in a terrorist attack.

August 2017

Dubrovnik in Croatia

Police in Skye warn tourists away

The Isle of Skye police warn tourists not to come if they haven’t booked somewhere to stay. Speaking on the subject, Seargant Bruce Crawford said: “People regularly arrive at the station with nowhere to stay asking for advice and it is simply not possible for police to phone round hotels and B&Bs to try and find them accommodation.”

Tourists and cruise ships are turned away from Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik announces a two-year plan to drastically cut the number of visitors allowed into its ancient centre in an effort to prevent ruinous overcrowding.

October 2017

Spain, Mallorca

Mallorca doubles tourist tax

Officials from the Balearic Islands announce plans to double its tourist tax during the peak season in an effort to tackle overcrowding. The archipelago has seen a huge rise in overseas arrivals, prompting calls for measures to protect the region from unchecked growth and environmental damage.

Amsterdam bans shops aimed at tourists

Amsterdam announces a ban on any new shops aimed at tourists – such as places hiring bikes and selling souvenirs, tour tickets and ubiquitous waffles.

More: Majorca and Ibiza double tourist tax for Irish holidaymakers

November 2017

Venice is not just for lovers - there's a world of family fun to be had just a short hop outside the city itself

Cruise ships diverted from Venice’s city centre

After years of see-saw debate between Venetians and the tourism industry, government officials announce that cruise ships are to be banned from sailing past St Mark’s Square.

February 2018

Visitors to Maya Bay in Thailand

Idyllic cove from The Beach threatens to close

Government officials announce that Maya Bay in Thailand, a strong contender for the world’s most celebrated beach, will be closed to tourists for at least three months in a bid to reverse damage caused to the surrounding coral reef.

More: Thailand's idyllic cove is closing due to overtourism

April 2018

Cala d'Hort beach in Ibiza. Photo: Deposit

Venice mulls charge for day-trippers

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro proposes charging day-trippers entering the floating city. He says: “The solution is obvious: those who live, work or have a place to sleep in the city can enter, the others must stay away.”

Ibiza's first protest against tourism

More than 500 people take to the streets to protest against the impact of overtourism in Ibiza – the first rally of its kind on the Balearic island famed for its hedonistic 24-hour lifestyle.

Venice introduces unprecedented crowd-control measures

Venice employs unprecedented crowd control measures to separate tourists from locals as the World Heritage city braces for a busy bank holiday weekend.

Philippines island closes for six months

Boracay closes to tourists for six months from April 26. It will provide time to overhaul the island’s creaking infrastructure.

May 2018

Venice bans new fast-food outlets

Venice officials make yet another attempt to reduce the impact of mass tourism by banning takeaway food outlets from opening in the city.

Read more:

Tired of tourists: Six places that are struggling with overcrowding

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