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Americans are traveling to Europe in large numbers but they’re not always welcome. Here’s what cities are doing to staunch overtourism

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The requirement restricts travelers from non-EU countries like the United States to 30 European nations, including France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Applications would have brought in €7 apiece, adding up to considerable money.

As popular European cities continue to confront the challenges of overtourism in 2024, they choose to move beyond the financial solutions provided by tourist taxes.

These destinations are now deploying unprecedented innovative strategies aimed not only at managing crowds, but also at preserving their cultural heritage, protecting the environment, and maintaining the quality of life for their residents.

Multiple New Anti-Tourism Measures in Amsterdam

Amsterdam raises its tourist tax to 12.5% of the accommodation cost in 2024. Up from the current 7%, that’s the highest rate in Europe. The increase applies to all establishments, from hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to campgrounds.

January 2024 also means further measures to combat overtourism in Amsterdam. The city banned buses weighing over 7.5 tons from entering the city center except those granted special exemptions and increased the tax for cruise ship passengers visiting the city for a day from €8 to €14 per person.

Amsterdam also prohibited opening new B&Bs within certain central districts to help with its increasing housing problem.

Paris Imposes Unprecedented Rise in Tourist Tax

The tourist tax in Paris increases by 200% in 2024. According to France24, the increase is part of the government’s plan to fund enhancements in public transportation.

The city hosts the 2024 Olympics from July 26 to Aug. 11, drawing global attention. Hotels in Paris already raised their rates for the event’s duration. The tax increase will further elevate the cost of staying in Paris. But will it combat overtourism?

Instead of restrictions, limitations, and bans, France plans to take a positive approach. “If we want to decongest overcrowded sites, we must bring out other destinations and other tourist routes,” observes Olivia Grégoire, the Minister Delegate for SMEs, Trade, Crafts and Tourism of France, in an interview with Le Figaro.

France adopts a novel approach to address overtourism in 2024. By engaging social media influencers to highlight less-visited areas, they hope to decrease interest in more well-known destinatrions. Understanding the significant influence these individuals wield, the French government is keen on using its extensive networks to direct tourists toward unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences like French eco-lodges or glamping sites.

Venice Tightens Group Tour Regulations

As one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Venice still feels the pressure of overtourism despite banning large cruise ships in 2021.

To combat the influx of daily visitors, Venice is testing a new access tax for tourists who visit the city without staying overnight. Each visitor pays €5 per day from 8:30 to 16:00. The city will test this tax for twenty days in May, June, and July 2024. Based on the results, the city hopes to implement changes in 2025.

Venice also announced on its official website that it will limit tourist walking groups to 25 people and ban loudspeakers since the latter cause disturbance. It will likely take effect on June 1, which fits with its Detourism campaign to promote a lesser-known Venice for visitors.

Venice may join Rome and Florence in restricting the number of short-term rental properties, which aligns with broader national efforts in Italy. In June 2023, the Italian Ministry of Tourism unveiled the first draft of a proposed legislation to regulate short-term tourist rentals across Italy, including Airbnb listings.

New Daily Cap for Visitors in Athens

Lina Mendoni, the culture minister of Greece, announced in an interview with Greek radio station Real FM, the implementation of a new policy. Starting in September 2023, the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, will cap daily visitor numbers at 20,000. The previous average was 23,000 visitors per day. The new program will have a trial run until April 1, 2024.

It follows the example of many other European locations that introduced daily tourist caps in previous years, like the Louvre in Paris, France, Calanques National Park in Marseille, France, Villa de Balbianello near Lake Como, Italy, or the Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Portugal Contemplates Further Actions for Non-Compliant Cruise Lines

At the end of December 2023, Carlos Moedas, the Mayor of Lisbon, announced a new tourist tax of €2 per person for all cruise ship passengers, the same fee each guest at a hotel pays.

He added that the income from this tax “will be used to clean the city, to have green spaces and represents a strategy for the future of the city.”

The new fees hit Jan. 1, 2024.

Portugal News reports that the mayor indicated that if cruise operators fail to comply, he is prepared to use his authority to make their entry more challenging. This could mean further measures in 2024, including restrictions on the mobility of their buses.

It aligns with the year-end announcement of the Turismo de Portugal (the Portugal Tourism Board), which placed sustainability and authenticity at the forefront of its 2024 promotion strategy. This approach includes highlighting eco-lodges in Portugal and many other sustainable and authentic travel experiences. Additionally, they will also utilize TikTok for the first time, aiming to inspire people across multiple channels to explore the diverse regions of Portugal beyond the urban allure of Lisbon.

Dublin Is Eager To Boost Its Tourist Numbers

While certain European cities continue to be popular travel destinations, it’s worth considering other cities that offer equally stunning but less crowded experiences. These alternative destinations provide unique opportunities to explore and enjoy without the challenges of overtourism. They even took measures to attract more tourists in 2024.

In December 2023, Dublin Airport took a significant step toward expanding its capacity to accommodate the growing number of travelers. The airport submitted an application to increase its annual passenger capacity cap from 32 million to 40 million. This move is indicative of Dublin’s expectation to increase the number of visitors to the Emerald Isle.

This article was produced by Media Decision and Syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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