It was recently reported that French Polynesia plans to avoid overtourism by limiting the number of visitors to 280,000 per year by 2027.
This South Pacific nation is far from the only one – other destinations popular with travellers have, in these past months, taken steps to regulate their tourist numbers, or are preparing to introduce similar restrictions.
No official measures have yet been taken, but the renowned Indonesian diving destination is looking at ways to better regulate its tourist numbers. In July, Bali welcomed 541,353 visitors, up 13.21% on June, according to figures from Bali Management Villas.
Since the start of the year, almost three million vacationers have strolled through the rice paddies and taken a break from the hustle and bustle, particularly in Ubud. In addition to the inappropriate behaviour of some tourists, such as a Russian traveller posing with no pants on a sacred Hindu site, Bali also intends to better preserve its environment.
According to Lonely Planet, the authorities are currently crunching the numbers to set a limit on the number of travellers that can be accommodated: the island’s governor, for example, has suggested an annual figure of seven million. For comparison, Bali welcomed 6.3 million travellers in 2019.
In addition, a tax for international travellers, set at US$10 (RM47) per person, is to be introduced starting next year.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Restrictions could also be in the pipeline at Mount Fuji, as Japan sets out to preserve its iconic landmark revered by the country’s inhabitants, which older generations even regard as a deity.
In Japanese culture, everyone must climb Mount Fuji at least once in their life – and many international visitors are also keen to rise to the challenge.
Indeed, there have been plenty of foreign visitors since Japan’s borders reopened post-Covid: the base station from which the Mount Fuji hike commences welcomed four million people this summer, an increase of 50% from 2013. A quarter of them were non-Japanese.
The authorities are, therefore, considering limiting the number of visitors to help preserve the Unesco World Heritage Site.
This summer, the sublime Italian island took action to protect its turquoise waters and golden sandy shores. First, on the east coast, which many travellers have singled out in recent years as the new place to discover in Sardinia, the municipality of Baunei has decided to limit the number of daily visitors wishing to enjoy several of its local beaches.
The decision covers four magnificent beaches, including Cala dei Gabbiani and Cala Biriala, which were limited to 300 vacationers a day.
Meanwhile, the larger Cala Mariolu beach, the best-known in the area, now only accommodates 700 people. A further measure was taken to preserve Cala Goloritze, which can only be reached by boat or on foot (after a great deal of effort!), with an entrance fee of €6 (RM30) now charged.
Summer visitors have to plan their visit at least 72 hours in advance to reserve their place via a dedicated application called “Cuore di Sardegna”.
On the other side of the island, where tourist crowds have been noticeable for many years, the Italian authorities have also taken matters into their own hands, notably in the village of Stintino, where the difficulty of finding a parking space reflects how much its pink sandy beach attracts many visitors.
At La Pelosa, the number of visitors is now limited to 1,500 per day, with an entrance fee of €3.50. What’s more, you’re no longer allowed to bring your own towel – instead, you’ll need a beach mat, made of straw or fibre that won’t pick up sand, unlike wet towels.
The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
As of this month, access to Greece’s iconic tourist site is restricted: a quota of 20,000 visitors per day has been set, with the aim of guaranteeing both their safety and preserving the Acropolis.
This figure remains very high, however, since it is estimated that the site currently receives up to 23,000 curious visitors every day.
However, the new policy involves limiting the number of visitors by allocating them time slots. Given the heat, it’s only logical that many tourists come in the morning, creating a teeming anthill of tourists all around the site.
Initially, this is being introduced as a trial phase, but the Greek authorities aim to officially roll out the reservation system from April.