EUROPE: Europe launches huge crackdown on tourists with popular cities introducing raft of taxes

As published on: express.co.uk, Monday 30 January, 2024. 

Europe’s popular tourist destinations are reportedly swapping their “come-to-us” tourism campaigns for “please-don’t” anti-tourism strategies after being fed up with a housing crisis, traffic, noise, pollution and litter.

Several destinations in Europe have turned into almost unlivable for the locals as many tourists throng the spots every year.

“Tourists are waiting more than two hours to visit the Acropolis in Athens. Taxi lines at Rome’s main train station are running just as long. And so many visitors are concentrating around St Mark’s Square in Venice that crowds get backed up crossing bridges — even on weekdays," reported the Associated Press.

The World Tourism Organization predicts that by the end of this decade, the flow of international tourists will surpass two billion, said Forbes.

Here is a look at which city has issued the most severe rules:

Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations of Spain, is considering implementing a tourist tax to address the issue of over-tourism.

The city, which welcomes over 300,000 tourists and pilgrims annually, aims to move away from being perceived as a mere 'theme park,' as reported by Schengenvisa.

Local authorities are also exploring measures to regulate the number of tourists in the historic centre of Santiago de Compostela.

In Mallorca, a prominent destination in the Balearic Islands, anti-tourist sentiments are on the rise. The Mallorca Daily Bulletin reports the frustration of local residents over nearly naked tourists strolling through the shops and streets of picturesque towns.

The municipality of Calvia has now implemented bylaws prohibiting walking "naked or half-naked" in the streets, a rule similarly enforced in Palma (Mallorca's capital) and Playa de Palma.

Fines have been also issued in various resorts, including Magalluf, in recent years. Barcelona has already adopted a similar approach, featuring a local graffiti campaign that redirects tourists away from the crowded Gaudi-designed Park Guell.

As part of the "Respect the City" initiative, the highly popular city of Dubrovnik has launched a luggage drop-off system to reduce the noise generated by wheeled suitcases on the picturesque cobblestone streets of the city centre.

SchengenVisaInfo reports that, starting in November, the municipality will install compulsory lockers at various points in the city, where carrying luggage will be prohibited.

These new measures aimed at managing over-tourism also encompass restrictions on activities such as sleeping in public areas, urinating in public spaces, scaling monuments, engaging in drunken behaviour, consuming alcohol near protected public spaces, including schools, and involvement in drug-related offences.

Violations of these regulations may result in significant fines and imprisonment.

Amsterdam has decided to prohibit cruise ships from entering its primary port, as part of a broader crackdown referred to by city officials as a "discouragement campaign."

This initiative includes various measures, such as prohibiting outdoor marijuana smoking in the red-light district. Additionally, official digital and poster campaigns specifically target young British men, urging them to "stay away."

Mayor Femke Halsema has clarified that these measures are aimed at dissuading visitors from indulging in a "vacation from morals" and managing the tourist influx.

Despite having fewer than one million inhabitants, Amsterdam attracts over one million tourists each month on average.


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