Beautiful city plagued by overtourism where visitors outnumber residents 36 to one | World | News

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Dubrovnik, the picturesque port city in Croatia, is grappling with the title of Europe’s most ‘over-touristed’ destination as the number of visitors far surpasses the local population.

In 2022, more than one million tourists flocked to Dubrovnik, a city with a resident population of approximately 28,400, according to reports from The Dubrovnik Times.

A significant contributor to the issue of overtourism in Dubrovnik is the influx of cruise ships, disgorging thousands of passengers daily. The historic Old Town, with its once rugged limestone main street now buffed by the constant footfall, remains the primary attraction.

Statista’s data from 2019 solidifies Dubrovnik’s status as the most touristed city in Europe, surpassing renowned destinations like Venice and Barcelona. In 2019, the city hosted almost 1.5 million tourists, equating to a staggering 36 tourists per resident.

The adverse effects of overtourism are evident – traffic jams clog the city’s streets as tour buses park outside the Old Town walls, infrastructure bears the brunt of excessive visitor numbers, and locals find themselves priced out of their own communities.

In 2017, UNESCO recommended restricting the number of visitors to the historic city to 8,000 at a time. While surveillance cameras and counting systems were installed, no strict limitations were enforced. Recently, Dubrovnik’s mayor announced measures to tackle the negative impacts of over-tourism.

One proposal aims to reduce noise disruption by requiring tourists to use wheel-along suitcases. Those failing to comply may face a €265 fine. Additionally, from November 2023, a luggage drop-off system at the entrance to the historic centre will be introduced, allowing visitors to have their suitcases delivered to accommodations using quiet electric vehicles.

Authorities have also decided to impose a noise level limit in the Old Town streets. During evening hours, street musicians, bars, and restaurants will be prohibited from generating noise exceeding 55 decibels.

Dubrovnik’s challenges with overtourism are not unique, with iconic destinations worldwide facing similar issues. As 2024 is predicted to be a record year for global tourism, the need to address overtourism becomes more pressing.

Other cities, such as Amsterdam, Venice, and even distant locations like Hawaii, are also experiencing the adverse effects of overtourism. From housing shortages and rising rent prices to overcrowded beaches, the consequences are diverse but universally challenging.

As the world grapples with this growing issue, various destinations are implementing measures to balance the benefits of tourism with the preservation of local culture and infrastructure.

From crowd limitations to noise control, cities like Dubrovnik are pioneering solutions to maintain a delicate balance between welcoming tourists and safeguarding their unique charm.

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