Over-tourism: crowded beach

OVER-TOURISM

the dark side of tourism

How over-tourism affects the world

Traveling has become travel within the last years and continues to boom. We love traveling, and so do millions of others. Usually, it also one of our favorite things to write about. Yet, we feel like it’s time to express some concerns and worries.

It was our visit to Chefchaouen, which prompted us to discuss the topic of over-tourism. The picturesque blue city in Morocco has become one of the Instagram hotspots. Here you queue up for a photo. We had the feeling that the place was taken over by enthusiastic crowds of tourists. We felt a bit like intruders in people’s homes. From overcrowded cities to displaced locals, to the loss of authenticity of entire islands and neighborhoods, over-tourism has left its mark on many places.

We are lucky to live in times where we get to explore the world so freely. Yet, we should bear in mind that traveling offers unique ways to overcome cross-cultural prejudices, fears, and establish empathy and understanding. It’s, therefore that we can’t allow tourism to exceed its capacities. Especially in the times of social media, it becomes even more important to actually connect to a country and its people. A destination is always more than an Instagram post! It’s in our hands to choose our destinations wisely and responsibly. Without a doubt, the world holds lots of beautiful places,  but we should never forget about the people who call the area their home.

If you are interested in becoming a more responsible traveler, check out our guide on how to become a more responsible traveler.

What is over-tourism?

The British journalist Greg Dickinson chose the following definition for the term:

“[Overtourism] is the phenomenon of a popular destination or tourist attraction being overrun by tourists in an unsustainable way;”

Over-toursim has become a buzzword when it comes to the adverse effects of tourism. However, the problem itself has been known for much longer. The topic did not attract media attention until a sudden outcry from the population of affected cities and regions and a trend towards more sustainable tourism practices.

In recent years travel has become a mass product. An increase in airlines and airfares, the evolution of Airbnb and has made traveling affordable to broad masses.

We started consuming traveling the same way did with food and clothing, too much with too little respect for environmental impacts. On the quest for utmost tranquility and relaxation, people stopped traveling to explore and often bring little interest in the county visited beyond the borders of the chosen resort. Often did we listen to locals complaining about visitors who are not interested or even appear scared.