How Overtourism Killed Spontaneous Travel - CNN

Louvre Museum, Paris
How Overtourism Killed Spontaneous Travel

Excerpt from CNN

Picture the scene. You're on vacation. You've had a slow morning wandering round, a long lunch and a stroll around the city. You realize you're near that gallery you've been meaning to visit -- so you walk over.

Even five years ago, you could probably have sauntered in unless it was a peak time on a peak day. A half-hour wait was likely the longest you'd have to put up with for not planning.

How things have changed in the travel world. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, Ed Cumming tried to visit the Anne Frank House.

"I only booked the trip about a week beforehand and had done nothing in the way of planning," said the Londoner. "To be honest I had forgotten until I cruised past it on a canal tour and thought I should probably go, as I had never been."

He arrived to find it was fully booked until the end of October. Not only that -- but the Anne Frank House is one of several sites around the world that have instituted mandatory prebooking polices with no walk-up tickets available.

It is joined by places including the Blue Lagoon thermal pool in Iceland, Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper mural in Milan, Rome's Galleria Borghese and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC, all of which require prebooking (the latter only on weekends).

It means that the days of leaving everything to chance on vacation are gone. Spontaneity is no longer an option, if you're visiting a major destination and wanting to see the main sights.

The reason? Largely, ourselves. With global tourism hitting record highs -- 1.4 billion tourist arrivals in 2018, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, up 6% on 2017 -- and popular destinations being besieged by overtourism, world-famous sites are battening down the hatches.

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