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Europe Tourist Hotspots Get Tough On Visitors, Launch Curbs

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Venice has introduced a tax for overnight visitors.

European tourist hotspots like Amsterdam and Venice, which introduces new measures on Thursday, are on a crusade to deal with surging visitor numbers.

Venice

In Venice, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, 3.2 million visitors stayed overnight in the historic centre in 2022 — dwarfing the resident population of just 50,000.

On Thursday, it will start charging day trippers for entry. Day visitors will have to buy a five-euro ($5.3) ticket, monitored by inspectors carrying out spot checks at key points across the UNESCO world heritage site.

In 2021, it banned huge cruise ships from Venice lagoon over concerns about the environmental impact of the huge liners on the city.

Venice has also introduced a tax for overnight visitors.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam has long been trying to clean up a reputation for rowdy stag parties, drugs and sex that has been partly blamed on an influx of around 20 million visitors a year.

In 2023 it launched an online campaign aimed at discouraging young British men from travelling to Amsterdam to get high or very drunk, telling them in typically blunt Dutch fashion to “stay away” or risk arrest.

Amsterdam also announced last week a ban on new hotels and that it would halve the number of river cruise ships in the city within five years. 

It also decided last year to ban smoking cannabis on the streets of the red-light district.

Dubrovnik

Croatia’s medieval walled city of Dubrovnik is one of Europe’s most overcrowded cities, with the flow of tourists sometimes making it impossible to walk inside the historic Old Town. 

The jewel of the Adriatic has seen a huge surge in visitor numbers since scenes from the series “Game of Thrones” were filmed on its ramparts in 2011. 

In 2023, the town of 41,000 people received 1.2 million tourists, below 2019’s record of 1.4 million.

In 2019 local authorities limited the number of cruise ship arrivals to two per day, with no more than 4,000 passengers each at a time.

They also launched an app that uses machine learning and weather forecasts to predict when the Old Town, a UNESCO world heritage site, will be busiest.

Barcelona

Nestled on the coast of the Mediterranean, Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia region, home to famed Gaudi architectural gems and one of Spain’s top football clubs.

Ada Colau, the leftist former housing rights activist who was mayor of the city between 2015 and June 2023, cracked down on illegal Airbnb rentals that were accused of pricing locals out of the property market.

The city also limited the entrance of tour groups in the historic La Boqueria market, especially during peak shopping times.

And throughout the centre organised groups must be limited to a maximum of 20 people and guides are not allowed to use loudspeakers.

In 2023 tourist numbers registering in hotels, homes and hostels were down 6.9 percent compared with 2019 figures, according to the City Council.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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