Mass tourism: a majority of French people ready to give up certain destinations

63% of French people say they are ready to avoid certain destinations if they are too busy, according to a study published by the Comptoir des Voyages agency.

Mass tourism continues to increase, as well as the number of disappointments and accidents that accompany it. a few days ago, causing several injuries. In a completely different register, entire city centers are emptying of their inhabitants, in favor of furnished rentals. Even Everest is reached. And the phenomenon of overtourism is not about to weaken: last year again, world tourism increased by 6%, for 1.4 billion people, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Some cities are trying to curb the flow of visitors, in particular by introducing specific taxes for tourists. From next summer, for example, ranging from 2.5 to 10 euros depending on the season. However, the public authorities are not the only ones to react, with some travelers adapting themselves to this new situation, as shown by a study conducted by the online survey specialist Toluna for the Comptoir des Voyages* agency. 63% of French people say they are ready to give up visiting a site if it is too busy. “Tourists want to see famous places, like Saint Mark’s Square in Venice, as they imagine them,” comments Alain Capestan, president of Comptoir des Voyages. Even if it means never finally going there so as not to betray this ideal.

Dubai, the first city to avoid

At the top of the list of cities to avoid for this reason, according to 27% of respondents, is Dubai. This is followed by Marrakech (25%), Bangkok (24%), Rio de Janeiro (22%), Venice (21%), Barcelona (20%), New York (20%), Istanbul (18%) , Mexico (16%) and finally Kyoto (16%). The city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, which welcomes 4.2 million visitors a year, for 43,000 inhabitants, does not appear in this top 10, but would have its place there: “In summer, the city is overcrowded, it is impossible to walk”, laments Alain Capestan.

More specifically, the crowds in certain emblematic monuments create a real push-back effect for a large number of potential visitors: Saint Mark’s Square in Venice thus becomes the first place to avoid for 47% of respondents, ahead of the Taj Mahal (44 %), the Vatican (38%) then the Great Wall of China (34%).

In terms of solutions, 42% of those questioned advocate offbeat travel. “Overtourism is a phenomenon to which people react, we are seeing a shift in dates,” confirms Alain Capestan. Moreover, if his agency records an annual growth of 12%, this is “only” 8% for the months of July and August, against almost 30% in September, October, November and April. “Now there are no longer just , there are also the Septembrians,” he smiles.

22% of respondents would appreciate seeing a visitor quota system put in place in the most touristic places, as is the case in the Galapagos Islands. Finally, 15% recommend traveling off the beaten track. The extension of the opening hours of the sites to be visited, on the other hand, only meets with a very weak echo in this panel.

Haro on the selfie sticks

Cruise ships, decried for the space they occupy, are considered a major source of disturbance by 65% ​​of respondents. “Some vacationers ask me for the arrival days of the cruise ships so as not to be there at that time,” confides the president of Comptoir des Voyages.

Finally, the selfie stick, another corollary of mass tourism, should be banned, say the vast majority of respondents (71%).


*Toluna survey for Comptoir des voyages, conducted in April 2019, on a sample of 1000 people representative of the French population.

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