In the past two years, the problems surrounding mass tourism have intensified at major destinations (as well as some less expected ones) around the world, prompting Telegraph Travel’s successful campaign for dictionaries to shortlist “overtourism” as their 2018 Word of the Year .
As the global fight against overtourism intensifies, here is a month-by-month timeline of the key battlegrounds.
Barcelona unveils law to curb tourism
Officials give the go-ahead for new legislation aimed at curbing tourism. The law limits the construction of hotels and stops licenses being issued to new tourist accommodation rentals.
Botswana introduces a steep tourism tax
All tourists arriving in Botswana are now subject to a $30 (about £22) tax , in an effort to raise money to support conservation in the safari hotspot.
Magaluf cracks down on anti-social tourists
New rules unveiled by the local council mean that misbehaving tourists could be fined up to €3,000 (£2,620). The long list of banned activities includes the obvious (urinating, spitting, and being naked on the streets), as well as the more unusual (climbing trees).
Venice plans to ban new hotels
Massimiliano de Martin, Venice’s councillor for urban planning, submits a plan that he describes as essential “for the protection of the city”. It will prevent new holiday accommodation from opening in the historic centre.
Machu Picchu restricts visitors
Anyone journeying to the citadel on its Andean mountaintop will need a ticket for either the morning (6am-midday) or the afternoon (midday-5.30pm). Anyone wanting to linger on the site for longer than their allotted session will need to buy a ticket for both time-segments.
Hvar, Croatia, punishes misbehaving tourists
Consuming alcohol in the street will now invite a €700 (£620) fine from the authorities, who have erected signs that list various offences and corresponding penalties. Men walking around with their shirts off will reportedly be slapped with a €500 (£440) fine, while women wandering around in swimsuits can expect to pay €600 (£529).
Anti-tourism protesters slash tyres in Barcelona
A disturbing assault takes place on an open-top tour bus as it pulls up outside the Camp Nou stadium. The incident saw the vehicle’s tyres slashed and graffiti daubed onto its sides - many on board feared they were caught in a terrorist attack.
Police in Skye warn tourists away
The Isle of Skye police warn tourists not to come if they haven’t booked somewhere to stay. Speaking on the subject, Sergeant Bruce Crawford said: “People regularly arrive at the station with nowhere to stay asking for advice and it is simply not possible for police to phone round hotels and B&Bs to try and find them accommodation.”
Tourists and cruise ships are turned away from Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik announces a two-year plan to cut drastically the number of visitors allowed into its ancient centre in an effort to prevent ruinous overcrowding.
Mallorca doubles tourist tax
Officials from the Balearic Islands announce plans to double its tourist tax during the peak season in an effort to tackle overcrowding. The archipelago has seen a huge rise in overseas arrivals, prompting calls for measures to protect the region from unchecked growth and environmental damage.
Amsterdam bans shops aimed at tourists
Amsterdam announces a ban on any new shops aimed at tourists – such as places hiring bikes and selling souvenirs, tour tickets and ubiquitous waffles.
Cruise ships diverted from Venice’s city centre
After years of see-saw debate between Venetians and the tourism industry, government officials announce that cruise ships are to be banned from sailing past St Mark’s Square.
Visitor restrictions at Caño Cristales
Access to the surreal river in Colombia, famous for its rippling red-coloured underwater plants, was restricted to allow the ecosystem to recover. Faber Ramos, who coordinates the ecotourism program here, said: “Human presence can harm the plants’ reproduction processes. That’s why we decided to implement the restriction.”
Idyllic cove from The Beach threatens to close
Government officials announce that Maya Bay in Thailand, a strong contender for the world’s most celebrated beach, will be closed to tourists for at least three months in a bid to reverse damage caused to the surrounding coral reef.
Venice mulls charge for day-trippers
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro proposes charging day-trippers entering the floating city. He says: “The solution is obvious: those who live, work or have a place to sleep in the city can enter, the others must stay away.”
Ibiza's first protest against tourism
More than 500 people take to the streets to protest against the impact of overtourism in Ibiza – the first rally of its kind on the Balearic island famed for its hedonistic 24-hour lifestyle.
Venice introduces unprecedented crowd-control measures
Venice employs unprecedented crowd control measures to separate tourists from locals as the World Heritage city braces for a busy bank holiday weekend.
Philippines island closes for six months
Boracay closes to tourists for six months from April 26. It will provide time to overhaul the island’s creaking infrastructure.
Venice bans new fast-food outlets
Venice officials make yet another attempt to reduce the impact of mass tourism by banning takeaway food outlets from opening in the city.
Locals express concern that Lisbon is becoming "Disneyfied"
“In both Lisbon and Porto the central downtown areas have become more or less only for tourist s,” one local said. “Lisbon’s Baixa district, for example, which covers an area of 1.5 square kilometres, now has more than 70 hotels, while tourist-oriented restaurants, souvenir shops and big international brands have displaced local businesses.”
‘Overtourism’ shortlisted as Word of the Year
The Oxford Dictionary has named ‘overtourism’ as one of its 2018 Words of the Year, following an ongoing campaign from the Telegraph Travel for the word to be recognised in its annual list.
Thailand's Phi Phi islands suffer from water crisis after tourist influx
Thailand’s idyllic Phi Phi islands faced a drinking water crisis because of a glut of tourists flocking to enjoy the archipelago’s sandy white shores and turquoise waters.
Icelandic Canyon made famous by Bieber closes
An Icelandic canyon made famous by Justin Bieber closed to the public after becoming overrun with tourists – rising from 150,000 to 282,000 between 2017 and 2018.
Japanese attractions ban foreigners in overtourism backlash
A number of Japanese tourist attractions are refusing entry to foreigners due to the bad behaviour and poor manners of overseas tourists.
Faroe Islands close for maintenance
The Faroe Islands "closed for maintenance" for three days after receiving a boom in tourist numbers – our writer Hugh Morris went to help out .
Amsterdam moves from "destination promotion" to "destination management"
Amsterdam stops shifts its tourism strategy towards destination management . “To control visitor flow and leverage the opportunities that tourism brings with it, we must act now," the tourist board said in a strategy document which addresses the challenges to be faced between now and 2030.
Lake Baikal takes measures to reduce tourist numbers
The remote Siberian lake has become an unlikely victim of overtourism . "We'll have to artificially limit the flow of tourists to Baikal, as sad as it sounds... to preserve its unique nature and purity," said Sergei Ivanov - an aide to Vladimir Putin on environmental issues.
Komodo Island announces closure
The island of Komodo, home to the endangered Komodo dragon, announces it will close to tourists from January 2020 over concerns about poaching.
Venice bans large cruise ships from docking at its historic city centre
The Italian government announced it will be rerouting cruise ships away from central parts of Venice . This move follows a long campaign by residents to stop large ships from docking in the Unesco-listed city.
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