Five Places Pumping the Brakes on Tourism


How are desirable destinations dealing with their own popularity? (BBC)

How are other places encouraging sustainable tourism?

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

Crowds fill the Piazza San Marco in Venice on the first day of Carnival. More than 20,000 tourists were turned away from the annual festival this year.
Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas


  • How might too many tourists impact the human geography of a destination?
    • economic hegemony. Local industries often suffer as huge, multinational hospitality industries (such as hotels and restaurants) move into an area. Smaller businesses are often unable to compete with the size, amenities, or prices offered by these corporations.
      • Cities such as Venice, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain, have cracked down on unlicensed, unzoned Airbnb facilities, which can increase the everyday cost-of-living for local residents.
    • required infrastructure. An increased number of tourists usually requires an increased police presence, as well as increased maintenance for structures such as roads and bridges, and networks such as buses and taxis. These costs often come at the expense of services to other local regions.
    • traffic. The daily routine for residents of “still-living cities” is often radically disrupted by tourists on local pedestrian walkways and mass transit.
    • safety. Overuse puts both tourists and locals at risk with unrepaired and unregulated roads, bridges, and mass transit platforms such as metros, buses, and ferries.



  • Have you ever lived or visited a popular tourist destination?
    • What specific challenges do you think city planners had in the place you visited?
    • How do you think challenges change depending on the type of tourist site—historic or natural, activity-oriented or relaxation-oriented?
    • How would you address the challenge of “too many tourists” without endangering the local economy?



BBC: Tourism pressures: Five places tackling too many visitors

Conde Nast Traveler: 15 Places Telling Tourists to Stay Home

Voice of America: Too Much Tourism?

CNN Money: These European cities are fed up with tourists

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