Overtourism Critical Problem in Europe
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Efforts are being made to enforce measures that won't negatively influence economic benefits
According to UNWTO, 40% of the world's tourists – some 500 million – visited one of the European Union's 28 countries in 2016.
2016 was the seventh consecutive year of sustained tourism growth for Europe with countries such as Spain, Italy and France averaging 60 million visitors annually, while Croatia welcomes more than 15,5 millions visitors yearly.
The Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini has warned earlier this year that historical sites the likes of the Fontana di Trevi in Rome, the Piazza San Marco and the Ponte Vecchio in Florence are suffering serious congestion.
On the tracks of these warnings and in response to 20 million visitors a year, Venice has introduced a “person counting system” at the city's key sites, fines for those found dipping in the Grand Canal or improvising picnics in the vicinity of historical monument sites. The city has also limited the number of harboured cruise ships to two a day.
Other European cities, like Barcelona and Copenhagen, face similar challenges. Barcelona welcomes more than 7 million visitors a year, a fact which has forced authorities there to enforce a ban on opening new hotels in the city centre, as well as limit the arrival of cruise ships. Copenhagen, with 9 million visitors a year, has similarly enfoced a ban on establishing new bars and restaurants in the city, additionally marking special cycling paths for tourists and introducing 'silent areas' where talking loudly is forbidden while walking down the streets. Denmark has also banned foreigners from purchasing real-estate on the coast.
The leader of mass tourism regulation in many ways is France, where the first measures limiting tourism developement were enforced back in the 1950s. Tourism development in France is planned with regard to the context of protecting rural areas, wineyards, small coastal towns, just as much a renowned ski resorts and big cities.
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