Overtourism and its consequences

post by : leonie.biba

The tourism industry grew from 25 millions international arrivals in 1950 to over 1.3 billion in 2017. By 2030, the UNWTO expects to reach 1.8 billion travellers. The impacts of this growing tourism industry may already affect various famous places. In the last few years, the term “overtourism” became quite common.

The Responsible Tourism Partnership refers to ‘overtourism’ as “destinations where hosts or guests, locals or visitors, feel that there are too many visitors and that the quality of life in the area or the quality of the experience has deteriorated unacceptably. It is the opposite of Responsible Tourism which is about using tourism to make better places to live in and better places to visit. Often both visitors and guests experience the deterioration concurrently.”

The fact that the roads may be packed with tourist vehicles or that the wildlife is scared away are typical proof of overtourism. The cases where tourists cannot view landmarks because of the crowd would also be a good example of overtourism. For example, at the Machu Picchu in Peru, the degradation of the rocks due to the visitors walking over the archeological site is such, that a law has been applied to restrain the number of visitors per day.


It is known that Venice, Barcelona and other big cities suffer from overtourism, but is it the case in Switzerland? Because of its geographical situation, and the competitive prices with its neighbours Germany and France, Switzerland is not able to welcome mass tourism. This is why Switzerland Tourism focuses on individual and quality tourism. However, Lucerne is one of the few places in Switzerland that suffers from overtourism. In terms of proportion, Lucerne has more tourists per inhabitant than Venice.


Overtourism is now a significant issue in the tourism industry. It occurs in a lot of countries, including Switzerland. As mentioned previously, several cases of overtourism exist throughout the country, despite what people may think.