Top 10 Places Ruined by Tourism

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Spencer sher
For this list, we're looking at countries, cities and tourist attractions that are struggling to keep up with an ever-increasing influx of annual visitors. We'd like to thank CN Traveler for listing the locations featured in this video.
10 Popular Destinations Suffering from Overtourism

Is it just us, or is it getting crowded in here? Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the 10 Beloved Places Suffering from Overtourism.

For this list, we’re looking at countries, cities and tourist attractions that are struggling to keep up with an ever-increasing influx of annual visitors. We’d like to thank CN Traveler for listing the locations featured in this video.

#10: Mount Everest, Nepal

The last thing you’d expect to encounter as you ascend to the highest peak on earth, is a human traffic jam. Sadly, this has become a reality for climbers hoping to reach the summit of Mount Everest on the Nepalese side. As the mountain becomes more accessible, the number of inexperienced climbers increases. This, when combined with overcrowding, can lead to deaths that could have otherwise been avoided. As routes become congested, it puts climbers at risk of hypothermia, altitude sickness and more. Everest is also facing a pollution problem. It’s gotten so bad that travel specialist Walter Keats claims Nepal’s national flower should be “a discarded plastic water bottle.” Eleven people have already died attempting to reach Everest’s summit in 2019, and that number is likely to increase unless new regulations are implemented.

#9: Thailand

"Tourism can create, and at the same time, tourism can disrupt.” That was the response of Thailand’s Tourism Minister after a whale turned up dead with plastic bags in its stomach. This is just one of the effects that overtourism is having on various areas of Thailand. In recent years the country has been forced to close many of its most popular islands and beaches in response to a massive boom in tourism. Maya Bay, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach”, has a beach that is just 820 feet long, yet it received 5000 visitors and 200 boats a day, before being closed in 2018 until 2021. As it’s home to more than 1000 islands, the solution is simple: if you’re traveling to Thailand, don’t follow the herd.

#8: Dubrovnik, Croatia

A 2018 report by the Australian travel company Intrepid found that Croatia is suffering from overtourism more than any other country. And while the exact figures are contested, there can be no dispute that nowhere is this more apparent than in Dubrovnik, whose Old City walls and picturesque views served as the setting for “Game of Thrones’” King’s Landing from 2011 to 2019. “Thrones” fans aren’t the only ones clogging up the streets. The city is also a popular pit stop for cruise ships, with thousands of tourists disembarking each day. In an effort to combat this problem, Dubrovnik’s mayor has limited the number of cruise ships to two per day, while also installing cameras to track the number of people entering the Old City.

#7: Iceland

As the number of international trips taken per year increases - over a billion were taken in 2017, compared to mere millions in the ‘50s – even remote countries like Iceland are starting to feel the effects of overtourism. More than 2 million people visited the country in 2017; and while that might not seem like a crazy amount, keep in mind that this is a country with a population of just over 350,000 – with an infrastructure to match. Simply put, certain parts of the country are not equipped to handle that many tourists annually, something the Icelandic Tourist Board and the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre are working on remedying.

#6: Bali, Indonesia

As recently as the early ‘60s, Bali was a little-known island in SouthEast Asia with barely any hotels to its name. Nowadays, it’s one of the most popular tourist spots on earth, attracting more an estimated 14 million visitors in 2017 alone. Stemming the flow of lucrative tourism doesn’t appear to be a top priority for Indonesia’s government, who’re currently attempting to replicate Bali’s success on different islands across the country. Overtourism has gotten so bad that two years ago a “garbage emergency” was declared, with teams of workers clearing many tons of garbage each day from multiple beaches. Indonesia is a diverse country ,with hundreds of islands and areas not named Bali that are worth exploring, so perhaps check those out!

#5: The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

In 2007, the Galápagos Islands had a problem. A United Nations study found that a 150% increase in the amount of time tourists spent there was disrupting the region’s thousands of endemic species. This forced the UN to declare the UNESCO World Heritage Site endangered – a status it retained until 2010. However, the Islands were far from receiving a perfectly clean bill of health. While ship-based tourism had decreased, land-based tourism had increased by 90% between 2007 and 2016. Thankfully, measures have been taken to ensure the protection of the Galápagos Islands ecosystem, including limiting tourists to certain areas and requiring that a licensed guide be present at all times.

#4: Angkor Wat, Cambodia

In 1993, 7,650 people visited Angkor Wat. Fast forward to 2017 and that number now hovers around 2.5 million annual visitors. We don’t need to explain to you why that’s not good for a Hindu temple complex that’s over 800 years old. The Cambodian government has attempted to reduce overcrowding by increasing the price of tickets and limiting the number of people allowed on specific points of interest. This includes Phnom Bakheng - a popular temple also perfect for watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat – which now limits tourists to 300 at a time. As Cambodia’s most popular tourist attraction, we don’t expect ANgkor’s overtourism problem to be solved anytime soon.

#3: Venice, Italy

One of the most well-known examples of how overtourism can negatively affect a city, Venice continues to be crushed by the burden of millions of annual visitors – around 30 million of them. In an effort to take back their city, Venetian officials have made a number of proposals, including fining people for sitting in public spaces. Another way they’re combating congestion while simultaneously reducing harm to the ecosystem is by banning large cruise ships from entering the historic city center. This was a big win for Venetians, as cruise ships are responsible for bringing in thousands of tourists per day. Of course, it doesn’t help that the city is slowly sinking or that the locals continue to leave in droves, a by-product of the ever-increasing rents.

#2: Majorca, Spain

One of the (literal) tourism hot spots in Europe, Majorca has seen its amount of visitors grow exponentially in the past decade. In 2018, the island welcomed on average 1,094 flights and up to 17,000 cruise ship passengers, per day! Okay, that was during the peak season, but still. It’s gotten so bad that Majorca has anti-tourist activists, who just last year took to the airport with signs reading “tourism kills the city” and “a flight every minute is unsustainable,” and handing out leaflets claiming that Majorca was in an “extreme environmental crisis", caused by overtourism. The government has responded by upping the daily tourist tax and limiting the types of Airbnb listings available for rent.

#1: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Last, but certainly not least is Amsterdam, the Venice of the North in more ways than one. Known for its open-minded social attitudes, stunning beauty and amazing cultural attractions, it’s not surprising to learn that the city is a victim of its own success. Tourists are simply everywhere in Amsterdam, with some estimates tallying up close to 20 million visitors annually. And it’s not just the city center, residents of nearby areas like Oud-Zuid and De Pijp have complained of foreign tourists clogging up the roads and sidewalks and littering. As locals become more frustrated, Amsterdam’s status as one of Europe’s prime tourist destinations might, perversely, be in jeopardy.