Protests In Japan And Europe Against Overtourism

Austria's Hallstatt is protesting against mass tourism. Greece will limit the number of tourists visiting the Acropolis. Japan will restrict access to Mt Fuji. The world is done with over-tourism
The pretty Alpine town of Hallstatt in Austria
The pretty Alpine town of Hallstatt in AustriaWikiCommons

In many countries, overtourism has become a problem. With more people visiting, many regions are becoming overrun by tourists, leaving them to deal with the negative impacts of mass tourism, which causes pollution and damage to the places and sites.

An Alpine Town Protests

Hallstatt, a small Alpine town in northern Austria, is famous as the setting for several films. Scenes from the musical Sound of Music were shot here. The city served as the idea for the imaginary country of Arendelle in Disney's 2013 movie. The lakefront Pfarrkirche's much-photographed steeple has appeared on computer screensavers, South Korean TV dramas, and over a million Instagram posts. This has led to hordes of tourists descending on the town every year.

Now, residents of the Austrian town, which is a World Heritage Site, are fed up of day-trippers. They have held protests to fight back against overtourism by blocking the road leading to their Instagram-famous hamlet.

The village in the Austrian Alps has only 750 permanent residents but gets more than 10,000 visitors every day, many of whom are from Asia. The town is only accessible by a single road, which can become congested during peak vacation season.

Activists are now pressing for a restriction on the number of private automobiles and tourists allowed in Hallstatt every day.

Locals in Hallstatt protest against mass tourism
Locals in Hallstatt protest against mass tourismWarm Talking

"Mt Fiji Is Screaming"

The town is just one of several overcrowded, picturesque locations throughout the world where tensions between locals and tourists have arisen.

Mount Fuji, formerly a tranquil pilgrimage site, now attracts millions of visitors each year. UNESCO inscribed the "internationally recognised icon of Japan" on its World Heritage List in 2013.

Authorities have had enough, claiming that the amount of hikers ascending the world-famous volcano at all hours of the day and night is an ecological disgrace. "Mount Fuji is screaming," stated the governor of the local region recently.

On September 6, Japanese officials launched steps to build overtourism countermeasures with a meeting of multiple key ministries in Tokyo.

The discussion follows Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's statements to reporters in late August during his travels across Okinawa, in which he stated that tackling difficulties caused by overtourism, including negative consequences felt by local inhabitants, is a "important task for the government."

Cap On Visitors To The Acropolis

Beginning this week, Greece will limit the amount of tourists who can visit one of its most popular destinations each day.

The Acropolis monument in Athens will now cap daily visitation at 20,000. People who want to see the historical ruins must reserve a time slot in advance using a booking website.

Greece announced the move last month in an effort to reduce overcrowding amid a post-pandemic tourist surge that has gripped Europe this summer. In recent months, popular tourist attractions have struggled under the weight of overtourism. Cultural heritage sites and museums alike are making increased efforts to protect the integrity of their locations.

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