Travel: In which destinations are there restrictions for tourists?

Empty streets, closed cafes and deserted shops. Despite the gloom of the lockdowns during the Corona pandemic, they had one positive side: for the first time in decades, fish could be seen in the waters of Venice’s canals.

The water in the Italian city has not been as clear as it has been in the past two years for a long time. The reason for this was, among other things, a decrease in the movement of ships and boats due to travel restrictions. With entry fees for daytime tourists, Venice now wants to include and take control of tourism from the summer. However, the Italian water town isn’t the only tourist magnet that resists crowds.

Mallorca

People walk through the bars of Bierkönig and Bamboleo in Bierstrasse am Ballermann.

People walk through the bars of Bierkönig and Bamboleo in Bierstrasse am Ballermann. | Pictured: Clara Marges

A well-known example is the stretch of beach Balneario 6, known as Ballermann, on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Party people, loud pop music, and lots of beer are associated with party beach – but the Spanish government has had enough of it for a long time.

The Spanish authorities have used the Corona pandemic to tackle mass tourism: since the beginning of 2022, the drinking of alcohol in public places, the so-called botellón, has been banned throughout the island – for both tourists and local residents. Also, the island will not accept new requests for guest beds until 2026.

Paris

In May 2019, the Louvre was forced to close for a day due to staff complaints about too many visitors.

In May 2019, the Louvre was forced to close for a day due to staff complaints about too many visitors. | Pictured: Thibault Camus

According to online statistics portal Statista, France was the world’s most popular travel destination with 90.2 million visitors in 2019. Paris, the capital, bears the brunt of the consequences: seven million people visit the Eiffel Tower each year, which equates to about two-thirds of the Paris population. However, the most visited attraction with nearly 14 million visitors is Notre Dame Cathedral. At the world-famous Louvre, the staff fought back in May 2019: the museum had to close for two days due to a strike due to increased numbers of tourists and crowding.

The south of France was not without crowds either: the Calanques National Park between Marseille and Cassis, which also includes the famous Calanques de Saugeton beach, has reduced the number of parking spaces in it. In high season, you can also enter the national park just by registering through the website. A maximum of 300 tickets will be issued per day.

Amsterdam

Tourist boat takes tourists across a canal in Amsterdam.

Tourist boat takes tourists across a canal in Amsterdam. | Photo: Muhammed Muhaisen

The Dutch capital Amsterdam is supposed to represent one thing – freedom. Cafés, drugs and prostitution make it clear to some that the city has no rules. This attracts many vacationers – the consequences are felt by those interested in museums, among other things: if you want to visit the famous Anne Frank Museum, for example, you should not count on spontaneity. On the first Tuesday of the month, tickets are made available online for the following month – but sold out a few hours later.

The city of 870,000 just wants to stand up to the throngs of vacationers – among other things by banning public alcohol in certain places or shutting down the well-known “I Amsterdam” selfie backdrop.

Barcelona

Strolling along the Rambla is not comfortable in high season: the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia struggled with 30 million visitors in 2019. The city had already taken measures against the majority of visitors before the pandemic. The city, like Venice, wants to focus more on digitization. Apps like “Check Barcelona” are designed to suggest places to visit less for tourists. New hotels and guesthouses should also not have licenses in the city center.

Bali

Bali's infrastructure is not sufficient for the tourist masses, which is why rubbish collects on Kuta Beach, among other places.

Bali’s infrastructure is not sufficient for the tourist masses, which is why rubbish collects on Kuta Beach, among other places. | Photo: Kumang Irviani

The Indonesian island is famous for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, and tropical climate. In 2019, Bali attracted 6.28 million passengers – twelve times more than in 1990. Mass tourism began in the 1970s after the international airport in Denpasir opened in 1969.

During President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s term from 2004 to 2014, the Environmental Protection Act was passed but never implemented. Accordingly, there must be a distance of at least 150 meters between hotel complexes and beaches, for example. However, the infrastructure is not sufficient for the masses, and the results are overcrowded beaches, water shortages and growing mountains of garbage. The travel ban during the coronavirus pandemic has given the island at least a small respite from mass tourism over the past 50 years.

Dubrovnik

Tourists visit the historical center of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

Tourists visit the historical center of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. | Photo: Grgo Jelavic/PIXSELL

Scenes from the popular fantasy series Game of Thrones were filmed on the staircase of the Jesuits in the old town of Dubrovnik, Croatia. As early as 1979, the old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

About 1.4 million tourists come to 42,000 residents each year. At the end of the 2018 season, the city administration reported 740,000 tourists from 440 cruise ships. The city was so crowded that UNESCO threatened to withdraw the title.

Mayor Mato Frankovic responded with the shipping rules: since 2019, only two passenger ships have been allowed to dock per day in order to reduce the number of ship tourists in the city to 5,000. Scientists had previously calculated that Dubrovnik’s infrastructure could only accommodate 8000 tourists per day. The city has also removed many souvenir shops, restaurants, and even ATMs from the streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town.

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