Too much of anything is bad and that is what some locals of hot tourist spots are learning. Thanks to movies and travel shows, some places have got so inundated with tourists that locals are actually protesting and planning to put in restrictions.
New Zealand might have felt very proud when it was recognised as the Middle earth following the success of the super duper hit Lord of the Rings. But so many around the people are enamored with movie that the stream of visitors does not seem to die, in fact it has grown multifold. Some elected members are looking at options of new tourist taxes and placing more restrictions on camper-vans. One town is considering shutting Wi-Fi at night to deter campers. Queenstown is weighing whether to restrict Airbnb rentals.
A wave of antitourism demonstrations took place in popular European destinations last summer, including Venice, Mallorca and San Sebastián, Spain. In Barcelona, youth groups were filmed slashing rental-bicycle tires, and officials banned tour groups from parts of the city.
Thailand said in March it would close Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh, an island where Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach” was filmed, from June to September because overtouristing was damaging the marine environment. The Philippines in April announced that Boracay, an island once known for crystal-clear waters, would close to tourists for six months over concerns about pollution.
Do we get concerned about overtourism in India? No way! For us economic benefits far outweigh any environmental concern. And that is the real debate – how can countries like India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, which earns a lot through tourism, resort to restrictions? But then, if this trend continues, isn’t there risks to destroying the very beauty that tourists come flocking to see?