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European Countries Implementing Measures to Tackle Over-Tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the tourism industry, but it has also allowed residents in many overtouristed European countries to enjoy quieter times. Several European nations have responded by introducing more restrictive measures to control tourism, including limitations on popular attractions.

European Countries Implementing Measures to Tackle Over-Tourism


Spain, a popular tourist destination, has taken steps to address over-tourism. Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrimage hotspot, is planning to introduce a tourist tax to manage the influx of over 300,000 tourists and pilgrims it receives annually. Mallorca city has banned tourists from wandering around the city nearly naked, and similar restrictions have been implemented in Palma and Playa de Palma. In a recent move, the city of Seville announced its intention to ban obscene behavior at bachelor and bachelorette parties, responding to resident concerns about tourist behavior following the post-pandemic surge in visitor numbers.


In Portugal, playing loud music at many beaches can result in fines of up to €36,000 for tourists, with varying fines for individual offenders and groups. Additional restrictions at Portuguese beaches include limitations on unauthorized ball games, camping outside designated areas, fishing in bathing zones, and overflight by aircraft below 1,000 meters, except for rescue operations.


Italy has also taken steps to combat over-tourism. In 2021, Italy banned large cruise ships from entering Venice's historic lagoon and introduced measures to limit access to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. The country began charging entry fees to visit the Pantheon, and international authorities, such as the United Nations culture agency, warned that Venice could be added to a list of endangered destinations due to mass tourism and climate change. The town of Portofino has banned tourists from standing in "no-waiting zones," famous for photo opportunities, and violations can result in fines of €275. In 2023, Florence prohibited short-term private vacation rentals in its historic center, which is protected by UNESCO.

These measures were mostly implemented in response to the post-pandemic surge in tourism, with the aim of managing tourism, reducing overcrowding, and prioritizing the well-being of residents. The introduction of tourist taxes, behavior regulations, and restrictions on tourist activities highlights the efforts made by these countries to strike a balance between welcoming visitors and protecting their cities and cultural heritage.


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