Cities Struggling With Over-Tourism

In order to understand the struggles faced by a growing number of city destinations worldwide, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and real estate firm JLL recently introduced the Destination 2030 index as a way to measure tourism readiness, based on tourism growth and the cities’ ability to manage that growth. The index measures 75 tourism indicators, including the concentration of visitors, urban readiness and local policy engagement. Based on their level of readiness, 50 world’s major cities were classified into five groups as follows:

  1. Dawning developers (slow tourism growth & lower visitor concentration)
    Bogota, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, Lima Manila, Moscow, Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Riyadh
  2. Emerging performers (growing tourism momentum and increased pressures)
    Bangkok, Cape Town, Delhi, Ho Chi Min, Istanbul, Jakarta, Mexico City
  3. Balanced dynamics (financial hubs with a lower share of leisure travel)
    Beijing, Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Munich, Osaka, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington, D.C.
  4. Mature Performers (strong leisure/business travel)
    Auckland, Berlin, Dublin, Las Vegas, Lison, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, New York, Seoul, Seville, Sydney
  5. Managing Momentum (high growth momentum driven by leisure travel)
    Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Prague, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Toronto, Vancouver

If we take a look at the 5th, most endangered group of cities, we can easily recognize cities the names of cities that appeared in newspapers headlines so many times in the last couple of years. In this report, these cities are flagged as those potentially causing strain on existing infrastructure if the steps aren’t taken to manage the tourism growth. Amsterdam is a classic example. In the index, Amsterdam ranks in the highest quartile for the concentration of visitors and the strain on the city. With 18 million visitors last year and a population of under 1 million, Amsterdam has seen tourists add to rising real-estate prices due in part to short-term rentals, as well as contribute to overcrowded streets and problems with their relaxed drug laws. Amsterdam’s city authorities’ve already banned short-term rentals like Airbnb in certain areas. They’ve also been working on channelling tourists to lesser-known neighbourhoods or other Dutch cities and they plan to stop cruise ships from docking.

To find out more, download the full report.

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