There is a very real fear that the rising popularity of these sought-after locations impacts negatively on fabric of the local community.
For example, there has been a huge influx of tourists in the Italian city of Venice, which has locals crying out for change. Overbooked, a book written by award winning journalist Elizabeth Becker, reports that in 1951 Venice’s population sat at 174,000. This figure has since slumped to under 60,000 because of the increase in mass of tourists, which has become too much for the inhabitants to bare. With an estimated 20m visitors a year, this overtourism has meant that toxic pollution levels are on the rise, with an estimated 5-6 of the world’s largest cruise ships sailing into Venetian harbours every day, which has led to a whopping 99% of Venetian’s voting for cruise ships to be banned from sailing down the main canal path.
It doesn’t stop there. Places such as Bali, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris have long been struggling with high tourist levels. Inhabitants of Barcelona have been forced to move out of the city as the rent prices continue to soar. In 2017 the rent prices in Catalonia rose by 10.3%.This is partly as a result of the rise of businesses such as Airbnb, where it has become preferable for landlords to earn an income from letting their properties to tourists for short term lets, instead of longer term rental agreements with tenants. Tourists are threatening the local culture of cities and even worse, damaging the environment in the process.
However, there’s now a growing movement to alleviate some of the strains of overtourism.
Undertourism – a term used to describe the act of visiting destinations that have not been over populated by mass tourism and it’s gaining real traction. Not only does it address the problem of overtourism, but it also opens up to discovering new hidden gems.
There are endless undersubscribed places that you can discover for your next adventure, that offer the same enticements as the old favourites but with the benefit of being able to explore something new and totally raw.
In 2019 why not skip the crowds, endless queues, pickpockets and air that’s bad for our lungs… when you think about it like that, what’s really appealing about these overpopulated tourist destinations anyway?
The world is full of unexplored corners, so next time you’re researching a holiday destination, think about getting off the beaten track.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of our favourite alternative destinations that you should be adding to your holiday wish list: