Tourist go home! Europe’s dream destinations at risk
Europe’s urban tourism is experiencing an unprecedented boom. But cities like Venice, Barcelona and Dubrovnik can no longer cope with the crowds and are on the verge of collapse. We ask who the actual profiteers are.
Europe’s urban tourism is experiencing an unprecedented boom. Stimulated by cheap flights offered by budget airlines, a growth in cruise ship tourism and clever marketing strategies, cities like Venice, Barcelona and Dubrovnik are being literally overrun by tourists: 30 million flock to Venice every year, 1.7 million to Dubrovnik, and Barcelona soon expects to attract 10 million visitors. Cities can no longer cope with the crowds and are struggling with problems of congestion, mountains of rubbish, soaring rents and empty city coffers. Mass tourism is destroying exactly what tourists love about these cities: their cultural diversity and cosmopolitan lifestyle. We show three cities that are turning their authenticity and unique atmosphere more and more into a lucrative business model that is ultimately damaging both citizens and tourists. The winners are international consortiums and investors that support a kind of tourism that brings profits only to a few and socializes the losses. But residents have had enough. Protest movements are emerging in all three cities. We meet mayors, tourism experts, political activists, residents and victims. Venice & Co are on the verge of collapse. Can they still be saved?