Europe's Ancient Ports Have New Infestation: Tourists

Cruise ships bring in visitors by the tens of thousands daily
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2017 9:00 AM CDT
Europe's Ancient Ports Have New Invader: Cruise Ships
In this May 3, 2016 photo provided by Carnival Cruise Line, the new Carnival Vista, sailing on its maiden voyage, departs Dubrovnik, Croatia, on a 13-day Mediterranean cruise. It's the largest ship in the Miami-based Carnival fleet.   (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line via AP)

It all started with Venice. The Italian port city on the Adriatic Sea has seen its population dwindle since the 1950s as locals are forced out by what the BBC calls "hordes of cruise-ship visitors." Nowadays, the problem of cruise ship tourist invasion has spilled over to many other ancient port cities, perhaps most notably Dubrovnik in Croatia on the other side of the Adriatic. Thanks in part to Game of Thrones being set there, five or six times the number of local residents (only 1,500 people live within the Old City) storm the gates every day in the summer. And that's not counting the thousands of tourists already staying in hotels and rentals; nearly all the city's stone houses are now devoted entirely to housing tourists. France24 reports that access to the Old City may soon be restricted.

"When I first got here, I'd stand back if I saw that people were taking photographs of each other," says the editor of the Dubrovnik Times. "Now there are so many people that I know if I did that, I'd never get anywhere here." A local official chimes in that "you can't fit a liter-and-a-half into a liter pot." In Barcelona, per the Local, the situation has become so dire that more locals cite tourism as a problem than unemployment and working conditions. The deputy mayor says it's not "tourist phobia," but rather that, with some 30 million visitors spending at least one night in Barcelona last year, there's a "concrete malaise caused by overcrowding." Even in a more out-of-the-way destination like Iceland, tourists far outweigh the tiny local population. (Some say tourists are physically ruining Iceland.)

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