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These Were Some Of The Worst Overtourism Destinations In 2023. Here's How To Dodge The Throng The Following Year.

After a prolonged slump caused by the pandemic, the tourism industry is recovering and thriving. World Travel & Tourism Council projections put industry revenue at $9.5 trillion in 2023, up 95% from levels before the epidemic.


This upsurge is most noticeable at the world's most visited tourist destinations, several of which have seen record-breaking influxes of tourists in the last year.


Even though these surges are significant for local economies and the bottom lines of hospitality businesses, there are a lot of negative aspects to them as well. For example, more traffic, pollution, and noise put pressure on public resources. Additionally, locals' quality of life drops and visitors' experiences could be improved.


To no one's surprise, numerous popular tourist destinations worldwide, including multiple European hotspots, have instituted policies and programs to curb the problem of overtourism. Some examples include attendance limits at famous goals, initiatives to discourage troublesome tourists, and new or higher tourist levies.


Fortunately, more tourists are aware of the dangers of overtourism and are looking for ways to help reduce it. Almost two-thirds of people surveyed in 2022 by the online travel agency Booking.com expressed a willingness to avoid congested areas if it meant avoiding popular tourist spots. Additionally, 31% of respondents indicated they would be open to considering a different destination if it meant avoiding crowds.


In that regard, this article looks at the most talked-about overtourism spots from around the globe in 2023, how those spots are being addressed, and what visitors may do to lessen the impact of the crowds in 2024.




The Dutch have a reputation for being forthright. In 2023, Amsterdam's tourism officials weren't afraid to call out a particular group of young men from the UK, referring to them as "nuisance tourists" who had no business visiting the city that had a reputation for vice.


The campaign warned young men from the United Kingdom to "stay away" from Amsterdam if they intended to "go wild" there, and it was announced in March 2023. When people in the UK looked for things like "pub crawl Amsterdam," "stag party Amsterdam," or "cheap hotel Amsterdam" online, a video explaining the dangers of drug use, excessive drinking, and disorderly behavior came up.


This initiative is part of a larger strategy to diversify the city's customer base, make De Wallen (the Red Light District) a more welcoming place for locals, and cut down on mass visitors. Legislation known as "Amsterdam Tourism in Balance" was enacted in 2021. It states that the city council is "obliged to intervene" when the number of overnight guests reaches 18 million.


In the time after, De Wallen's government outlawed public marijuana use and approved a plan to exclude cruise ships from the harbor.


Regardless of your behavior, all tourists visiting Amsterdam in 2024 should be prepared to pay the highest tourist taxes in Europe.


A nightly cost already included in hotel room rates will increase to 12.5% of the room rate, while the city announced in September that the daily fee for cruise ship day guests will rise from 8 to 11 euros, or roughly $8.50 to $11.60. Still, by 2025, with all these programs in place, Amsterdam is predicted to welcome up to 23 million overnight guests (not including the additional 24–25 million day visitors).


If you want to avoid the crowds but are still willing to brave the cold and rain, January, February, and March are not the busiest in Amsterdam. You can expect better weather and more visitors in June, though they will be better later in the summer when several European countries are still in school.


If you want to see Dutch culture without dealing with the crowds in Amsterdam, there are plenty of great options within a train journey.


Cities like Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht are excellent choices for city breaks, but if you're looking for something more rural with a Dutch character, there are plenty of charming places to choose from. About an hour and a half southwest of Amsterdam lies Delft, sometimes called a "mini Amsterdam" for its Dutch architecture and network of canals; it attracts its fair number of tourists, but thankfully none of the rowdy, obnoxious kind.


The city of Athens


Despite the extreme heat wave in Europe, the Greek city was flooded with visitors this summer.


Officials imposed a daily maximum of 20,000 people on the Acropolis, the most famous archaeological site in the country, in September. People could only enter the monument through an hourly slot system on a booking site. More than twenty-five additional national monuments and archaeological sites will implement the new booking system in April 2024.


The most visited islands in Greece, such as Santorini and Mykonos, were also very crowded, and this trend will undoubtedly continue as long as Greece remains popular with tourists.


The best way to escape the throng in Athens is to go during the off-season in July and August. If you want to see the city's museums and monuments without fighting the summer heat, the best months are April and May, when fewer tourists are there. September and October, when the heat is off, are even better.


That being said, if visiting the Acropolis is on your list of must-dos, it might be wise to schedule your visit for later in the day, away from the morning crowds that include many cruise ship passengers.


Lastly, keep in mind that there are decreased ferry services and closures for restaurants and lodging, particularly from January through March, if you visit an island during an off-season Athens trip.




"Eat Pray Love," the novel turned film by Elizabeth Gilbert, had a meteoric rise in popularity that went much beyond the typical tourist demographic Bali had been known to attract. From digital nomads to badly behaved visitors and everyone in between, the Indonesian province has been overwhelmed by the tidal surge of tourism in the past decade. Spirituality-seeking travelers are just one facet of it.


The recent spate of unruly tourists has been a significant headache, to the point where Wayan Koster, the province governor, mandated the addition of a "dos and don'ts" list to tourist passports in the spring of 2023. Swearing, touching holy trees, and climbing structures are all off-limits.


A new tax of 150,000 Indonesian rupiah, or around $10, would also be imposed on foreign tourists visiting Bali starting from February 14, 2024. If tourists visit other parts of Indonesia and then return to Bali, they will still be required to pay the tax, even if they have already paid it.


The dangers of overtourism in Indonesia's most popular tourist attractions have also begun to receive warnings from government authorities. Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia's Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, brought attention to the adverse effects of mass tourism in certain European cities and emphasized the need to adopt more eco-friendly tourism practices while encouraging tourists to "stay longer and spend on the larger local economy."


The best time to visit the island to avoid the crowds is during the rainy season (October–April), when fewer tourists exist. The busiest months are December and January, particularly around New Year's, when resorts host beach parties that draw thousands of people. Also, please stay away from Indonesia during July and August, when the country hosts its most significant influx of foreign tourists and students on vacation. Those visiting Bali outside Ubud, the island's cultural center, may enjoy a less crowded experience.


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