From quotas to fees, how tackling mass tourism could be a boon for touristophobes

To fight against overcrowding, some tourist sites have decided to restrict access this summer. — Photo ETX Studio

Saturday 09 Jul 2022 15:16 MYT

PARIS, July 9 — In order to mitigate the effects of mass tourism and combat overcrowding in tourist destinations (while ensuring their preservation), travelers will be required to make reservations to visit certain global hotspots this summer, meet strict visitor quotas or pay fees. And these measures could be music to the ears of touristophobes and touristophobes alike.

In beach resorts and trendy towns, tourists flock to enjoy the views, visit the sights and soak up the vibe. Streets, parks or seashores become teeming anthills. As the summer holiday season kicks off, cities like Marseille, Biarritz, Barcelona and Venice are preparing for this surge they may have thought had died down.

Indeed, in the two years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was talk of a more responsible tourism, less focused on concrete cities and more on mountain landscapes and wide open spaces. And while mountain holidays are on the rise, it’s clear that the pre-Covid form of tourism is more popular than ever, much to the chagrin of touristophobes – people who have an aversion to tourists.

Touristophobia should not be confused with tourismophobia, a more relevant subject according to tourism expert Paul Arseneault, former holder of the Transat Chair in Tourism and director of the Tourism Intelligence Network. As a trade tourism publication The Tourist Echo explains, tourismophobia is defined as “a rejection of the tourist industry and its institutional and commercial partners by the inhabitants of a territory, who feel – legitimately or not – deprived of their rights, their advantages and peace “.

Quotas: restricting access to suppress crowds

Changes are taking shape in the tourism industry that could calm the nerves of anxious touristophobes, even if they are presented above all as measures to protect the environment.

In natural sites popular with visitors, quotas and reservation systems are in place to restrict access to certain landscapes this year. This is the case of the Calanque de Sugiton in Marseille, the Lavezzi islands, the Aiguilles de Bavella or the Restonica valley in Corsica.

And the Calanques National Park in France, for example, will limit access to 400 people per day from Saturday July 9 to August 21, 2022.

Pay to visit

Elsewhere in Europe, access to the historic center of Venice will become chargeable from August 2022 for tourists visiting during the day without spending the night. The price varies from €3 to €10 depending on the period, the events and the time spent in the city.

After being trialled this summer, reservations and payment to access the city will come into effect on January 16, 2023, Venice tourism adviser Simone Venturini announced at a press conference in June. “We are aware that the measure can no longer be postponed and that it is essential if we want to reduce the excesses of seasonal tourist peaks,” he said.

On the other side of the world, the South Asian country of Bhutan has announced a tripling of its tourist tax. The daily rate will now be USD 200 (RM 885.40) per night for travellers, Bhutan Time reports. The country, which has been pursuing a sustainable tourism policy for several years, will reopen its borders on September 23, 2022. – ETX Studio

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