How many tourists per capita are there in Europe’s most popular destinations?

When is a destination characterized as facing the phenomenon of overtourism and who is competent to judge it?

Holiday rental booking platform Holidu has researched the 20 cities with the most tourists per capita, using statistical data. Two Greek destinations are in the top ten, but also one in position 14, of the list created based on the number of tourists per year in 2019 compared to the city’s population.

The first three places on the list were paid by Dubrovnik, Croatia with 36 tourists per inhabitant, while Venice in Italy and Bruges in Belgium share the next places with 21 tourists per inhabitant. Rhodes came in 4th place on the list since there are 21 tourists per inhabitant, effectively equaling the previous two, which are cities.

As Holidu reports, Rhodes, the largest island of the Dodecanese, is known for its ancient monuments and stunning seaside resorts, so it’s easy to see why it has 21 tourists per capita. With medieval streets and palaces, the visitor can enjoy its history and stunning beaches at the same time. The recommendation of the platform is to visit the island in the months of April – May so that tourists avoid the high tourist season, crowding and high prices.

In the 7th place of the list was Heraklion, with 13 tourists per inhabitant. Reykjavik, Florence, Amsterdam, Dublin and Tallinn were also in the top ten. The 14th place was taken by Athens with 8 tourists for every resident.

Do we have hypertourism in Greece?

The phenomenon of hypertourism is something that requires special study to be established, which has been done by several cities around the world that have faced this problem. The pandemic caused by the disease COVID-19 seems to have put a brake on hypertourism and many were those who estimated that the end of the phenomenon had come. These estimates were refuted as this year, two years after the pandemic and with little or no restrictive measures in most countries of the world, hypertourism made its appearance again.

Its main feature is the serious negative effects on local communities and the natural environment. According to what has been said on the subject so far, hypertourism is related to cultural, social and environmental problems of permanent duration. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines hypertourism as: “the impact of tourism on a destination, or parts of it, that excessively affects the perceived quality of life of citizens and/or the quality of visitor experiences in a negative way”.

In any case, studies are required on the carrying capacity of each destination, its sufficiency in energy, water and other natural resources, its capacity in infrastructure and services in order to deal with important issues, such as the increase in the amount of waste, but also ways to residents’ complaints are addressed.

In our country, there are destinations that receive a large number of tourists during certain periods, such as Santorini and the city of Chania, but there are no studies to show whether they really face the problem of overtourism. Clearly, however, the problems with the infrastructure of the roads, the water and also the garbage are severe in many areas.


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