The Growing Backlash to Overtourism

The Growing Backlash to Overtourism
People, mainly tourists, throng a street in the Montmartre district of Paris, Aug. 9, 2019 (AP photo by Lewis Joly).

Thousands of demonstrators protested in Barcelona over the weekend, marching and blasting tourists with water guns amid growing frustration with overtourism in Spain. The main group organizing the demonstration also published a manifesto listing 13 demands, including restrictions on tourist accommodations and fewer cruise terminals in the city’s port. (Washington Post)

Our Take

Barcelona has in many ways become the poster child for overtourism—when the number of visitors outpaces the capacity of city centers, cultural sites and residential neighborhoods to receive them. But it is far from the only destination with this problem, and the list of cities struggling with overtourism is only growing, especially as pent-up demand for leisure travel during the COVID-19 pandemic led to an explosion of tourism in the past two years.

To be sure, overtourism is undoubtedly a problem. As Jennie Germann Molz wrote for WPR in 2020:

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