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The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism

The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism

The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism

2)     An individual report of 2000 words (50% of your total mark)

Write a report on the following topic: 

“The Sustainable Destination: The Issue of Overtourism”

This assignment is designed to encourage students to investigate tourism destinations in order to critically review the issue of overtourism, to identify how this might be tackled by affected destinations, and how it might be avoided in the longer term by sustainable destination management policies and strategies. 

  1. What is overtourism?
  2. Cases studies/examples of overtourism – issues/impacts.
  3. Strategies developed for dealing with overtourism – policies and strategies.

General lessons to be learned and recommendations for sustainable destination development in the future?
Sample Approach:

Introduction: What is Overtourism?

In the tourism sector, one of the major issues being discussed by the sector players globally today is the issue of overtourism (Mason, 2020). This is a severe menace, posing the world at a significant risk of unsustainability. Overtourism, by definition, refers to a scenario where there are more than the recommended number of tourists visiting a particular destination, and this leads to negative implications on infrastructure, the environment, and the entire quality of life of the residents. In other words, overtourism occurs when the number of tourists visiting a destination exceeds the carrying capacity, and the resultant effect of this is the strain on local resources and the creation of a wide range of cultural, environmental, and social problems (Weaver and Lawton, 2002; Mathieson and Wall, 1982). While sustainable tourism has significant benefits, as Cooper et al. (2008) exhibit, there are also myriad negative implications associated with overtourism. In this report, several elements of overtourism have been addressed, such as consequences of overtourism, examples of overtourism issues/impacts in Venice and Amsterdam, and recommendations for sustainable tourism in future. The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism

Case studies/examples of overtourism – issues/impacts.

To discuss the issue of overtourism, two destination cities, Venice and Amsterdam, have been chosen. In these cities, the issues/impacts of overtourism have been highlighted, as well as suggestions to improve the conditions for sustainability in the sector. The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism https://nursingessayists.com/place-order/

Overtourism in Venice

As described in the previous section, overtourism occurs when too many visitors simultaneously go to the same destination. One such destination that has experienced the menace of overtourism is Venice in Italy. Venice receives about 20 million visitors annually, and on its busiest days, reports indicate that the City receives over 120,000 visitors daily (Visentin & Bertocchi, 2019) and this is even way higher than that of the 55,000 permanent residents of the City. The most worrying reality is that even this large number of tourists still flock to the famous landmarks within Venice, such as the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square, concentrating the number in a tiny footprint (Koens, Postma, & Papp, 2018). The consequences of this, according to studies, include strain on infrastructure, damage to fragile buildings, and inhibiting the daily operations of the area residents. With these negative implications, even the visitors do not find it enjoyable. The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism

Studies have revealed that the reasons for overtourism in Venice are complex. Most issues that crop up in Venice have been likened to those registered in Dubrovnik, Barcelona, and Reykjavik (Goodwin, 2021) and they include a high rise in low-cost cruise ships, local flights, and peer-to-peer home-sharing platforms. These have become real issues that have impacted tourism in Venice negatively. Moreover, of the 20 million visitors destined to Venice annually, only about 50% of them spend their nights there, and this has led to a significant drop in hotel stays by 63.3% in the last 25 years (Goodwin, 2021). While only a handful of the visitors spend a night or two in Venice, the rest that stay there have contributed immensely to an increase in property prices, and this has seen many families converting what would have otherwise become family homes into lucrative holiday accommodation. This means that only a few wealthy residents in Venice can afford to live there, making it one of the negative social implications that overtourism has in this City. The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism

Impacts of Overtourism in Venice

In Venice, the negative impacts and issues of overtourism stretch beyond just quality of life. With time, the menace of overtourism has been proven to alter the balance of economic incentives for nearly all businesses that define the character of a destination. For example, the goods sold in the shops, the foods, as well as the music played in restaurants and bars must conform to the taste of the tourists and fail to cater for the needs of the residents (González, 2018). Studies have also shown that the issue of overpopulation has led to unemployment mainly because people cannot find jobs in any other field besides tourism. With the high prevalence of unemployment and the rising cost of living, transportation, and property, Venice has witnessed a high rate of depopulation in the recent past.

The demographic reports have indicated that in the last 30 years, about 120,000 people called Venice home, and today, only about 55,000 are permanent residents of this City (Koens, Postma, & Papp, 2018). This is because so many of them have been driven away due to the unbearable cost of living and a surrounding that is themed to match the desires and dreams of tourists, disregarding the local residents. Demographers have also predicted that by 2030, there could be no more permanent residents. Jonathan Keates, Chairman of Venice in Peril, stated that this City would no longer be a viable living City. The Sustainable Destination The Issue of Overtourism.

Addressing the Issue/Impacts of Overtourism in Venice

There are a number of interventions that have been adopted by key stakeholders to try and save Venice from the verge of deterioration. For example, in 2017, an Italian government committee made a ruling that would ban all cruise ships weighing over 55,000 tonnes from docking at both Giudecca Canal and St Mark’s Basin by 2021 (Bertocchi et al., 2020). The ships were given an alternative, Marghera, on the mainland. To further address the negative implications of overtourism, the government also took another rigorous step in April 2018 to “segregate” entry into popular sites, especially during high seasons (Bertocchi et al., 2020). This means that during such seasons, tourists would be diverted to alternative routes, and only local residents and business people would be allowed to access and use the popular through roads. Some fines imposed on tourists to try and control them include €500 for noisy wheeled suitcases, picnicking in public areas, littering and loitering on bridges, and sightseeing while wearing swimsuits.

To Venice, overtourism is not a new problem. UNESCO has always flagged up the kind of damage that is being caused to this WHS. In 2014, for example, UNESCO warned Italy to act or have a plan to conserve and preserve the WHS (Koens, Postma, & Papp, 2018). Among the concerns raised by UNESCO include the need for coordinated approaches and the absence of a sustainable tourism strategy to make Venice a WHS of global value (Koens, Postma, & Papp, 2018).

Overtourism in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, a city in the Netherlands, has been a popular tourist destination for several decades, attracting millions of tourists to the country due to its cultural attractions, historic charm, and picturesque canals. While this is one of the recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS), it has not received much-needed attention, especially regarding conservation and sustainable tourism (Veríssimo et al., 2020). There are a number of negative impacts that have resulted from overtourism in this destination city. These include; a crowded city center, rising property prices due to high demand for short-term accommodation, the strain on infrastructure due to a large number of people within the city, environmental degradation, and negative implications on culture especially by diluting the rich local cultures (Veríssimo et al., 2020).

Addressing the Issue of Overtourism in Amsterdam

A number of strategies have been adopted by key stakeholders to address the issues and impacts of overtourism in Amsterdam. One such strategy is the regulation of accommodation. The Amsterdam Mayor and her government have brought reforms to regulate short-term rentals to limit the number of days a property can be leased and this has helped to reduce the strain witnessed on housing (Gerritsma, 2019). Secondly, the community, the permanent residents of Amsterdam, have also been involved, especially in decision-making (Gerritsma, 2019). The local government has paid keen attention to engaging the residents in management strategies to improve the tourism sector. Lastly, Amsterdam’s local government authority has invested heavily in infrastructure improvement to help handle the large number of tourists who visit the City daily (Gerritsma, 2019). Examples of infrastructural improvements include enhancing public transport, improving waste management, and creating footpaths for pedestrians.

Recommendations for Sustainable destination development in future

When referring to sustainable destination and tourism development, then it is important to note that it involves maximizing the positive impacts of tourism on the environment, local communities, and local economies while reducing the negative implications (Kryczka, 2019; Page and Connell, 2020). Looking into the future, there are a number of key trends that are likely to shape and determine the evolution of sustainable tourism.

First and foremost, in the case of Venice and Amsterdam, the management or local authorities of these cities and adopt or integrate technology, and one good example is embracing digital platforms, which have the ability to connect travelers with sustainable options. Such platforms can provide the much-needed information sustainable transportation options, eco-friendly accommodations, and responsible tour operators (Capocchi et al., 2019).

Secondly, adoption of renewable energy and green infrastructure can play a crucial role in enhancing and promoting sustainable destination development. Here, the local authority of Venice and Amsterdam can use sustainable transportation such as electric vehicles to reduce carbon emission and minimize environmental degradation (Capocchi et al., 2019). Moreover, green accommodation can adopt eco-friendly building designs and energy-efficient technologies to reduce environmental impacts.

The other strategy that can be adopted is community participation and empowerment. Here, two things can be considered; cultural preservation and community-based tourism (Page and Connell, 2020). Cultural preservation aims at promoting and preserving local cultures and traditions so that they are more prominent (Hospers, 2019). Community-based tourism on the other hand ensures that there a great emphasis on involving local communities to benefit from all tourism activities in their area.

Regulation and certification is also a strategy that can be adopted by the management of these cities in two ways: imposing stringent standards and certification (Hospers, 2019). Strict regulations would ensure tourism activities adhere to sustainable practices. On the other hand, certification ensures that travelers’ choices are guided only to the socially and environmentally responsible alternatives.


Tourism sector is one pillar of the global economy that injects significant revenue to the world’s GDP. While it is a promising sector that employees hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, it is also faced by several challenges among them overtourism, which not only threaten its future, but also pose negative social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts. Among the WHS; Venice and Amsterdam cities are among the destinations which have suffered the wrath of overtourism. A number of suggestions have been highlighted which can help reduce the negative effects of overtourism in these popular WHS. These include; integration of technology, adoption of green and renewable energy, community participation and empowerment, and regulation and certification.


Bertocchi, D., Camatti, N., Giove, S., & van der Borg, J. (2020). Venice and overtourism: Simulating sustainable development scenarios through a tourism carrying capacity model. Sustainability12(2), 512.

Capocchi, A., Vallone, C., Pierotti, M., & Amaduzzi, A. (2019). Overtourism: A literature review to assess implications and future perspectives. Sustainability11(12), 3303.

Gerritsma, R. (2019). Overcrowded Amsterdam: striving for a balance between trade, tolerance and tourism. In Overtourism: Excesses, discontents and measures in travel and tourism (pp. 125-147). Wallingford UK: CAB International.

Goodwin, H. (2021). City destinations, overtourism and governance. International Journal of Tourism Cities7(4), 916-921.

Hospers, G. J. (2019). Overtourism in European cities: From challenges to coping strategies. In CESifo Forum (Vol. 20, No. 03, pp. 20-24). München: ifo Institut–Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung an der Universität München.

Koens, K., Postma, A., & Papp, B. (2018). Is overtourism overused? Understanding the impact of tourism in a city context. Sustainability10(12), 4384.

Kryczka, M. (2019). Overtourism vs. Sustainable Development of Tourism. Attempts to Handle Overtourism Following the Example of Venice. Studia Periegetica26, 43-61.

Mason, P. (2020). Tourism impacts, planning and management. Routledge.

Mathieson, A. and Wall, G. (1982) Tourism: economic, physical and social impacts.  London: Longman.

Page, S. and Connell, J. (2020). Tourism a modern synthesis. 2nd Edition.  London: Thomson

Veríssimo, M., Moraes, M., Breda, Z., Guizi, A., & Costa, C. (2020). Overtourism and tourismphobia: A systematic literature review. Tourism: An International Interdisciplinary Journal68(2), 156-169.

Visentin, F., & Bertocchi, D. (2019). Venice: an analysis of tourism excesses in an overtourism icon. In Overtourism: Excesses, discontents and measures in travel and tourism (pp. 18-38). Wallingford UK: CAB International.

Weaver, D. and Lawton, L. (2002) Tourism Management, Milton: John Wiley.

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