Ban on stopping or picking flowers, entry fee, hefty fines: all these incredible measures to combat overtourism

Ban on stopping or picking flowers, entry fee, hefty fines: all these incredible measures to combat overtourism
Ban on stopping or picking flowers, entry fee, hefty fines: all these incredible measures to combat overtourism

Summer is coming, and with it millions of tourists who will travel around the world. If these trips represent an essential point in the economy of certain regions or countries, a phenomenon is increasingly worrying almost everywhere on the planet: that of overtourism.

Since there are more and more of us on earth and the populations of certain developing countries have greater means, more of us are traveling. Certain places are therefore taken by storm, but in addition to the unpleasant experience of visitors, it is the preservation of these places which becomes a sensitive subject.

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In the last episode of his reports “On the front”, the French journalist Hugo Clément highlighted this phenomenon which also exists in France. He takes the example of Etretat, this Normandy town known for its cliffs and its pebble beach. On the top of the cliffs, the grass disappears due to being trampled by visitors, which weakens the rock and increases the number of collapses. Another problem: visitors “harvest” pebbles on the beach, which is prohibited because it also weakens the coast. As a reminder, a fine of up to €1,500 is provided for in France.

France, Spain, Italy, England and even Belgium: how do these countries fight against overtourism?

Other countries sometimes provide more unusual rules and sanctions. “The famous Italian village of Portofino, clearly a victim of its own success, recently announced that it was now forbidden for tourists to “stop walking” when they visit the city. This measure aims to avoid traffic jams and excessive gatherings in the busiest areas such as the center and the seaside.”, notes for example the specialized magazine GEO.

Still in Italy, there are also the very instagrammable Cinque Terre. There, it is forbidden to walk the hiking trails without wearing suitable shoes. Fine: €2,500.

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Other examples exist, such as time-limited visits. This is for example the case at the famous Machu Picchu, where you can only stay 4 hours. In Bali, scooter rides have been limited in recent months for tourists, following numerous accidents. You now have to think about renting a car in certain areas. “In Spain, some holidaymakers, particularly Britons (since Brexit), may be asked to prove they can afford to spend 100 euros per person per day, or risk being refused entry into the country.” , completes GEO.

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Finally, Cambodia had to take a measure that makes you smile but which clearly reflects the stupidity of certain tourists. In this country we find flowers that look like… penises. It is now forbidden to touch them, tourists only pick them to take photos.

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In Belgium, the situation is under control, but monitored

And in Belgium? If the influx of tourists is mainly concentrated in large cities like Ghent or Bruges, or even during sunny days on the Belgian coast, a reflection is still being carried out. We remember that certain corners of the Belgian Ardennes were taken by storm during the health crisis, for example with the closure of the Hautes Fagnes during the snowfall of January 2021.

More broadly, the authorities are thinking globally, especially to prevent certain places from becoming the landmarks of those looking for the most beautiful “instagrammable” photos. “We are not yet at the stage of legislating in WalloniaPierre Coenegrachts, CEO of Visit Wallonia, explained to us a few months ago. However, we encountered some problems during covid in Durbuy or in the Fagnes, for example. With Orange, we set up an app that made it possible to check the attendance of the place before going there, in particular via the data collected via the GSM antennas. This is no longer the case today.

It is especially in communication that Visit Wallonia tries to protect itself. “We offer as many alternatives as possible to the busiest places. I am thinking, for example, of all the smaller lakes and bodies of water to unclog the Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure. Same thing to highlight certain towns or villages, to avoid everyone going to Durbuy or La Roche-en-Ardenne. In our communication, we do not have a policy that highlights Instagram or other social networks. The goal is to inspire families, whether for a hike, a bike ride, etc. Sometimes, we only communicate towards a well-defined target, which allows us not to attract too many people to the same place.



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