When you’ve traveled to overseas destinations, have you sometimes found yourself overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of other visitors at popular places– and perhaps felt bad about being part of the whole spectacle?
Some of those destinations feel bad about it, too; and in spite of the millions of dollars that tourists spend, some places are starting to push back against the numbers, the noise and the occasional naughtiness.
That’s according to a recent report in the New York Times, which cited actions that various destinations have been taking to preserve their sanity and dignity in the face of tourist hordes.
In Copenhagen, for instance, the city has established “quiet zones” where tour guides and their charges have to shut up. The Danes also bar foreigners from buying beachfront property, and encourage them to use bicycles for in-town transportation, the report notes.
The visitor onslaught has been so serious in Barcelona — where the number of annual visitors exceeds the number of residents by more than six to one — that the city imposed a year-long ban on the opening of any new tourist accommodations.
Disrespectful or illegal visitor behavior has also part of the reason for the pushback, including recent reports of tourists posing nude at heritage sites or places sacred to the locals. And media reports about outrageous behavior by some nationalities, especially unsophisticated tourists from China, have been numerous.
“The United Nations World Tourism Organization projects that by 2030, global tourism will reach 1.8 billion trips a year,” the Times report says. “It is now so big that it will inevitably be part of conversations about climate change, pollution and migration. Without serious government attention, many beloved places will be at risk of being trammeled and damaged — what those in the tourism industry call being loved to death.”
Readers: Which destinations have you visited that seem to be the most overrun by tourists? What’s the most obnoxious tourist behavior you’ve witnessed?
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