The debate about tourism and preservation has caused friction in many historical European cities, with local residents concerned that huge influxes of tourists will destroy their city.
Most recently, activist groups in Venice in Italy, Dubrovnik in Croatia as well as Barcelona in Spain are looking to cull the number of tourists, with some singling out mega liners as bringing too many tourists to their shores.
The small city of Dubrovnik has been facing challenges, with thousands of cruisers arriving by ship and causing overcrowding.
Mato Frankovic spoke to The Telegraph UK about lowering the cap of 8,000 visitors to 4,000 to the Old City. There are three entrances into Dubrovnik’s Old City with surveillance cameras acting like counters which were installed in 2017 by the former mayor, Andro Vlahusić.
“We don’t want to go with the maximum, we want to go lower than that. I am not here to make people happy but to make the quality of life better,” he told The Telegraph.
“Some of the cruise lines will disagree with what I’m saying but my main goal is to ensure quality for tourists and I cannot do it by keeping the situation as it is.”
Dubrovnik’s Unesco world heritage status was at risk, much like Venice and Barcelona. And Mr Frankovic is trying to make sure Dubrovnik does not become like the popular Italian and Spanish cities.
In June, Venetians voted to ban giant cruise ships from the city’s lagoon with more than 18,000 locals voting in an unofficial referendum.
As many as 30,000 cruise ship passenger visit the city daily during peak season which puts an enormous strain on the already decaying city. Earlier this year, the United Nations said that Venice would be put on Unesco’s list of endangered sites if they did not ban cruise ships from the lagoon by 2017.
Locals in Barcelona have also been protesting heavily after the city received over 12 million visitors.
Chimu Adventures co-founder Chad Carey added that with the overpopulated tourist haunts no longer as desirable, an ‘out-of-this-world’ opportunity is becoming more elusive, and yet more sought after.
“People are looking for these ‘other-worldly’ experiences,” he told Travel Weekly.
“With things like Virgin Galactic coming up, they’re out of reach for most people, but Antarctica is at a good price point so more people can afford it.”
Intrepid’s CEO James Thornton told Travel Weekly that it’s about sustainability to make sure that these hotspots are maintained.
“Responsible travel is about the attitude you take and the choices you make when travelling – to respect and benefit local people, their cultures, economy and the environment,” he said.
“Cities like Venice and Barcelona certainly seem to be suffering from the influx of super-sized cruise ships.”
What do you think? Leave us a comment below if you’ve been to these cities on a cruise