Where to Avoid the Tourist Hordes
Posted on 08/30/2017
With anti-tourist protests spreading throughout Europe and countries increasingly seeking ways to minimize the impacts of record numbers of visitors, it was only a matter of time before a list of alternative destinations started making the rounds.
Here it is.
Bloomberg has just released its list of places to visit for those seeking to avoid the crowds.
Of course, the problem with publishing such lists is that once a destination appears on said list, it’s only a matter of time before it too becomes overcrowded.
Still, Bloomberg has offered up some intriguing alternatives, possibly not a moment too soon.
Travelers logged 369 million international trips so far in 2017, according to Bloomberg. That’s about 1.6 million trips per day, for those who don’t want to do the math. And year to date, according to the publication, it’s about 21 million more passport stamps than during the same time period in 2016.
All of which makes it a little clearer why residents everywhere from Barcelona to Venice, Dubrovnik, and Amsterdam are struggling amid the onslaught.
“A large part of these overcrowding issues is directly correlated to cruising,” Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and chief executive of the travel membership club Indagare, told Bloomberg. “In Dubrovnik, when there are two cruise ships in port and you have 3,000 extra people in the old city, it’s a vastly different experience. Without cruise ships in town, you can imagine how it was hundreds of years ago, and with them, you can’t see anything at all.”
The proliferation of cruises is not the only culprit, however.
Tthe problem can also be tied to poor management at heritage and environmental sites and increasing numbers of people having access to travel thanks to improved economic circumstances and the affordability of travel.
“Angkor Wat has become the most visited site in Southeast Asia, largely thanks to the way the Chinese middle-class travel market has opened up,” Bradley told Bloomberg.
Locals fear the significantly increased foot traffic at the ancient monument will cause it to sink. Among the proposed solutions is a tightly controlled permit system.
With all of this in mind, here are some of Bloomberg’s suggestions for alternative destinations.
Colmar, France—Skip Venice and head to Colmar, recommends Bloomberg. The tiny town has a prime location along the Alsace wine route and is full of charming half-timbered, pastel buildings and cobbled alleys.
Easter Island—Instead of following countless other tourists to Macchu Picchu, travel a little further and visit Easter Island. In Peru, according to Bloomberg, restrictions on daily entries to Machu Picchu finally took effect in July, limiting entries to carefully managed time slots.
Tel Aviv—This city has a lot going for it, and offers a refreshing alternative to the crowds of Dubrovnik. It has a walkable historic quarter (Yafo) filled with limestone buildings overlooking the Mediterranean. The beaches are also among some of the best in the world.
Hamburg—Yes there’s a great deal of fascinating history in Amsterdam, but the city of 850,000 welcomed 17 million visitors last year, according to Bloomberg. Instead, try Hamburg, a city just starting to make its way onto the radar of the world’s jet setters. Similar to Amsterdam, Hamburg is built around a series of canals.
Singapore—One last alternative to consider: Skip Barcelona and head for Singapore. The city is a great alterative for architectural buffs, says Bloomberg, noting that its answer to Barcelona’s Park Güell, (Gaudi’s installation near Vila de Gràcia), is the Gardens by the Bay, a 250-acre illuminated “forest” of steel-framed “super-trees.”
PHOTO: Popular destinations such as Barcelona are suffering from overcrowding. (Photo via Flickr/Nacho Facello)