Living in a city swarmed with tourists can be challenging. Imagine pushing through the crowds just to get home, or finding a souvenir shop where your favourite dining place used to be. Cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam and other hotspot destinations are becoming overcrowded, as the accessibility of travelling is increasing.
Think of how the 800,000 plus inhabitants of Amsterdam feel when there’re more than 5 million tourists visiting it each year. The city centre has become nothing near peaceful. Some of the visitors throw parties every night, disturbing neighbours who need a rest for the next day at work. Local restaurants and bars can be filled to the brim. Imagine the hardships of enjoying your evening drink amidst a talking, laughing, moving crowd of strangers…
The situation is even worse in Venice. This romantic city, with the population of 50,000 plus inhabitants, receives as many as 30 (!) million tourists per year. Locals complain that low season is non-existent and there’s no way to escape the crowds all year round. Parking lots, buses, trams and trains are full. Even for residents, parking spots are very expensive; you have to pay just to present your application form, and sometimes wait for years. Local taxes, tickets, fees and goods are also becoming costly.
So, how to decrease the impact of your visit to an overcrowded destination? Rule number one: treat the place with respect and not as an amusement park. For you, it may be a spot to unwind and have wild fun away from home, but think about the locals first. For Amsterdam, don’t make too much noise, avoid treating the premises like improvised open-air bars and limit your party time to appropriate hours. For Venice, travel as a couple or in small groups. The city isn’t big enough to accommodate millions of tourists at once, so show your respect to the local people by reducing the number of visitors.