Overtourism in Europe’s historic cities sparks backlash

Dam square in Amsterdam is often seen bustling with people.
Dam square in Amsterdam is often seen bustling with people. Image: Eric de Redelijkheid Flickr CC0

Across Europe, historic cities are buckling. Mass tourism, encouraged by cash-hungry councils after the 2008 crash and fuelled by the explosion of cheap flights and online room rentals, has become a monster. The backlash, however, has begun.

Angry protests from residents in historic cities force city halls to take action. It is not always evident, however, what that action should be – or if it will work. The trade-off between the revenues and jobs generated through tourism and quality of life is a tricky one. So the idea is not discouragement but management, say city halls.

The Guardian explores mass tourism and actions taken in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Florence, Prague.

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