Big cities against mass tourism

Travel and doing tourism is what most people do when they are on vacation. The diversity of supply in terms of prices, locations and type of activity in recent years has grown making it a popular option. This economic activity represents more than $8 trillion to the world economy every year.

However, all is not as good as it seems. Some cities are experiencing a record number of visitors during peak season and this has exposed the struggles these cities could face in the next 10 years.

An analysis based on tourism growth and how cities manage it, their ability to do so comprehends indicators such as concentration of visitors, urban readiness and infrastructure and local policy management. An index is used to measure concentration of visitors and overall ‘crunch’ (the strain on the city) which helps to identify the cities with highest problems in terms of challenges to manage mass tourism.

Some cities that face this challenge:


With a population of less than 1 million Amsterdam had 18 million visitors in 2018. Some of the consequences of this rise in tourism is the increase of real estate prices due partially to short term rentals. Over crowded streets and problems with the use of legal drugs

San Francisco

Historically another popular destination. The city contributes with over $9 billion a year but with the booming of Silicon Valley and the growth of mass tourism there are additional strains on the resources of the city. At the same time tourist tend to get a little to close trespassing private property to get the perfect selfie.


With 1.3 million inhabitants in 2018 the city had a record of 7.9 million visitors. The negative effects of mass tourism are constrained there, since most visitors never leave the Old Town area, the castle area and The Lesser Quarter. For locals it means a rise in rent prices and certain products.


The sunny city had 30 million visitors in 2018. They are 19 to 1 to the locals of the city with a population of 1.6 million. With two nudist beaches on the cities sometimes tourist stroll around the city centre as if they were on those beaches making locals uncomfortable. Badly behaved tourist throwing garbage on the streets and drunk tourist vomiting on the streets


This city is ranked by the index in the highest quartile for overall ‘crunch’. The biggest challenge for locals is affordable house prices. It seems to be a shortage specially in the downtown core since the booming of holiday rentals like Airbnb. Other problems are tourist littering all over the city.

First steps towards mass tourism management from these cities

The main issues seem to be an increase on housing prices, a restrain on the cities resources, contamination and garbage and a disregard for the standard of coexistence.

Some cities are opting to take measures to mitigate the negative effects of mass tourism. For example, in Amsterdam some areas have banned short-term rentals like Airbnb The city also has plans to stop cruise ships from docking. Another option is that the city also has channeled tourists to other Dutch cities. Also there are some projects being implemented promoting different kinds of tourism with an emphasis on sustainability, ‘slow travel’ or lesser-known neighborhoods.

Prague has been working to keep the negative effects of tourism as low as possible, the Prague city council has tried to implement night-quiet rules, it also has banned Segways and is promoting on a ban on traffic-impacting.


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