Friday Sound-off: Is ‘overtourism’ a problem?

LAST UPDATED: 7/28/23 – Is Overtourism a Probelm?

Is overtourism a problem?
Venice, Italy is one of the cities most affected by over-crowding.

‘Overtourism’ isn’t a term you hear very often, but it appears as though it was a hot topic at the 25th World Travel Monitor Forum held in Pisa, Italy November 9-10, 2017. At the invitation of IPK International and supported by ITB Berlin, roughly 50 tourism experts met to discuss the latest trends and hot topics in the tourism industry.  And it appears over-crowding and ‘overtourism’ was one of the hot topics.

It is a concept that, as travel enthusiasts, we may not actively think about a whole lot, but I am sure it is something that is often in the back of our minds.  I know it is often in our minds as we travel.

Increasingly crowded destinations not only have an impact on travelers in terms of long wait lines, lack of accommodations, and more expensive trips, but it has an impact on the destinations and local infrastructure as well.  In fact, in the past year overtourism has led to an increasing number of protests by residents.  We have outlined just a few of the articles written about the topic in the past year below.

According to a World Travel Monitor representative survey, in which 29,000 international travelers from 24 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas were surveyed, roughly 25 percent of all international tourists feel as though their travel destinations have been “over-crowded”.  We have summarized some of the other key findings from this survey below.

  • 9 percent, or roughly 100 million tourists, said this over-crowding has directly affected the quality of their trip.
  • The group reported the most issues with over-crowding, at 13 percent, as families with young children and young people under 34 years old.
  • In terms of origin, Asians reported experiencing issues with over-crowding most frequently, with 15 percent of those surveyed saying they have been directly affected by over-crowding on their trips.  This was followed by 9 percent of North American travelers and 8 percent of European travelers saying they have been affected by over-crowding.
  • In regards to activities, skiers and snowboarders reported the most issues with over-crowding, with 19 percent of those traveling to engage in winter activities reporting issues with over-crowding.
  • According to the survey, the cities most affected are Guangzhou (24%), Shanghai (23%), Beijing (21%), Amsterdam and Istanbul (both at 19%), and Barcelona, Florence, and Venice (all at 18%).

At the World Traveler Forum, there was plenty of discussion on how to address some of the issues with over-crowding, such as managing seasonal visitor flows, spreading out tourism benefits, and investing more in infrastructure.

And it was mentioned that Venice, Italy has already taken great strides to try and tackle the issues it is facing with over-crowding by banning cruise ships from docking directly at the waterfront, increasing tourism taxes, and fining tourists who break the local laws.  It will be interesting to see how these efforts and others pay off in the coming years.

We have certainly seen first-hand the effect that over-crowding can have on our travels throughout Europe.  Longer lines and a scarcity of accommodations are something that every traveler needs to factor into their travel planning these days.

We would like to know your thoughts.  Have you had any bad experiences with over-crowding?  What have those experiences been and where did you have issues?  What would you like to see these destinations do to counteract the problems with overcrowding?

Wanderlust Travel and Photos Blog

Don’t Forget to Subscribe to My Adventures!

Join 6,449 other subscribers
Please follow along with our adventures:
Categories: Friday Sound-Offs, General Travel, Opinions, TravelTags: , , , , ,


  1. My husband and I most often travel in the shoulder seasons for this very reason. It takes some of the joy out of a destination for us when we are constantly rubbing elbows with countless number of other tourists. This brings the stress level down for us some.

  2. I totally agree. It definitely takes some of the enjoyment out of it. Great suggestion in planning trips in the shoulder season!

  3. Even though we were on a river cruise both times we have traveled, we saw it first hand. So many people crowding onto a balcony in a very rickety castle in Europe. When one of the guides yelled out “i only said 20 could be on the balcony at any one time, I was realized there were more. On heading to our bus we noticed that there was no support under that balcony. Learning not to travel in the August time slot. So far we have not been able to avoid that however next year we hope to.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

We've detected that you are using AdBlock Plus or some other adblocking software which is preventing the page from fully loading. We don't have any banners, Flash, animation, obnoxious sound, or popup ads. I do not implement these annoying types of ads.

Creating the travel guides, itineraries, and other premium travel content for this blog is a lot of work and it costs money to
host this blog. Almost all of my revenue to run this blog comes from our online advertising.

Don't miss out on any of my premium travel guides, itineraries, and travel advice articles by subscribing to follow my adventures. All these guides will be delivered to your mailbox, hassle-free!

Subscribe To My Adventures!