City limits: Report reveals tourism hotspots struggling with overcrowding

City limits: Report reveals tourism hotspots struggling with overcrowding

The fine line between successful tourism and too many tourists is now a major issue for the world’s most popular cities, with some close to overcrowding, according to research for World Travel Market London – the leading global event for the travel industry – released today (Tuesday 7 November) at WTM London.

The Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London Edition, by Euromonitor International, says: “While tourism is important to many local and national economies, overcrowding is changing the perception of the benefits of mass tourism.

“Barcelona and Venice are high-profile examples of cities struggling with overcrowding. For Venice, the main culprit is cruise visitors.

“An analysis of population density (inhabitants per sq km) and traveller density (inbound plus domestic travellers divided by land area) for the top 10 European cities shows how Amsterdam in particular is close to overcrowding.”

The Dutch capital has 850,000 residents. Last year it attracted 6.34 million visitors and is expected to achieve growth of 3.6% to 6.57 million visitors in 2017. The Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London Edition says this figure is forecast to rise to 6.8 million in 2020 and 7.5 million in 2025.

In an attempt to attract high spenders and dissuade low-spending visitors, including younger tourists and those on stag weekends, Amsterdam city officials announced in September 2017 plans to increase tourist taxes by €10 a night.

Amsterdam’s city councillor responsible for finance, Udo Kock, said: “We need more people who actually spend money in the city.

“We would prefer people who stay a couple of nights, visit museums, have lavish meals at restaurants, to people who pop over for a weekend eating falafel while sauntering around the red-light district.”

In Venice, there has been growing concern among locals over huge influxes of visitors, particularly among cruise ship passengers. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has expressed ‘extreme concern’ about the impact of the tourism boom on Venice’s historical sites and in May it threatened to put Venice on its danger list.

There is a growing campaign among Venetians to restrict cruise visits – a move introduced by the Greek island of Santorini earlier this year in order to curb overcrowding.

World Travel Market London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “As the Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London Edition, by Euromonitor International, highlights, there is a very fine line between successful tourism and overtourism.

“Tourism is important to local and national economies and many destinations have worked hard to attract visitors over the years. Yet some are now becoming victims of their own success and overtourism is starting to become a real problem.

“The situation is discussed during several WTM London 2017 sessions where tourism professionals address the challenges and share ideas to tackle this growing problem.”


About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises five leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The five events are;


WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL – London every November generating around £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. Next event: 6-8 Nov 2017 – London.


International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) now in its 20th edition, is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international press for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments, exclusive networking opportunities and invaluable industry and trend updates. Taking place in a different destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from over 65 countries. Next event: 11-14 Dec 2017 – Cannes.


World Travel Market Latin America now in its fifth edition attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates US$ 370 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.


World Travel Market Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. Next event: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.


About Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. The 24th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 24-year history. Next event 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.


About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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