One way to beat overtourism is to target higher-spending visitors. Cities can get away with fewer tourists as long as they spend more. But will that really help solve the issue?
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It’s easy to see overtourism as simply a numbers game: too many people in a particular space at any one time. Cities are often caught in a difficult position. They might want to limit visitors, but this could cause a significant dip in revenue.
There are a few ways around this. They could tax tourists, as many destinations have started doing. It might not stop the crowds from coming, but at least it would raise some money, possibly even enough to buy off angry residents with the promise that the incoming funds might benefit those who actually live in the destination year-round.
Another option is to make a push for a different type of tourist. If certain groups aren’t spending enough, target another. Luxury travelers often fall into this category. After all, they’ve got the cash to spend, you don’t need as many of them, and moreover what they like to do fits well with how cities want to project themselves to the world. Think art, culture, and food.
That’s partly why Amsterdam — a city frequently associated with overtourism — wants more high-spending travelers. (Although it does also have a tourist tax, for good measure.)
Fewer tourists spending more money equals a happier city. That’s the thinking, anyway.
— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor
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Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.
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Photo Credit: The Nine Streets area of Amsterdam. The city is aims to lure more luxury travelers to counter overtourism. Koen Smilde / Amsterdam and Partners