An interesting phenomenon of ‘over-tourism’ is occurring where cities such as Vancouver, Venice, and Amsterdam are experiencing too much tourism that it is becoming a growing concern. These cities have visitor traffic and activities with “potential to cause strain on the city”. 

Some signs of strain include local places previously not built to accommodate visitors becoming popular. This has caused tension amongst the local community as their parking lots are occupied by tour buses coming in with large groups of visitors and locals who value their serenity being disturbed. Several other problems include having not enough short-term accommodation, road and rail infrastructure. 

Managing over-tourism is an old hat in Europe as countries are now pioneering tactics for crowd control. For instance, in Monaco, all tour buses are managed by control centres which allocates time of entry and exit. In the Netherlands, tourism promotion has stopped and they are also considering closing certain Amsterdam tourist attractions. 

To ensure that visitors get a good experience without feeling suffocated by other visitors, crowd management and space management are important for attractions. 

Read the full article on City Lab: Hit by a Tourist Boom, Cities Wonder When to Stop Self-Promotion 


Tourism has been advocated in cities for the good dollars it can generate in the local economy. With more tourists, the local economy can serve a larger pool of consumers, raking in more revenue. However, as this article has shown, some places are considering to reduce promotion of tourism as it is affecting the quality of life and over-straining the current infrastructure. It would take time to build more capacity to accommodate visitors, and the city authorities have to ensure that the locals stay happy with their quality of living. 

Perhaps, management of the crowd should be the way to go, rather than entirely shutting down attractions. However, if locals are adamant about closing off certain areas to tourists and preserving their space, these needs should be respected as well. This is also a chance for less popular cities to redivert traffic, and develop themselves to bring in tourism dollars. With more places to explore, travellers would be more than happy to seek adventures in lesser known places of attraction.  

Questions for further personal evaluation: 

  1. Have you attended events or travelled to places which were overly crowded? How could the experience have been better? 
  2. What are the pros and cons of tourism for cities? 

Useful vocabulary: 

  1. ‘inundated’: flooded, or overwhelmed with 
  2. ‘besieged’: be inundated by large numbers of requests or complaints