The Iriomote island, located in the Okinawa prefecture, will restrict the number of tourists to 1,200 per day.
1. Protecting biodiversity
The Japanese island of Iriomote only has 2,4000 residents but its beauty manages to attract around 300,000 travellers, in a typical pre-pandemic year. The island has a warm climate year-round, making it a popular destination for snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming and hiking. However, with the new tourist cap aimed at protecting native wild cats, only 33,000 tourists will be allowed to enter the island annually. In addition to the general visitor cap on the island, the prefectural government of Okinawa confirmed that five UNESCO World Heritage sites will be restricted in the year to come, including Mount Komi and the Nishida River.
2. Tackling overtourism
Excessive number of visitors beyond a destination’s carrying capacity, usually result in negative impacts on the environment, culture and quality of life for the locals, who often protest against huge crowds, congestion and increased levels of pollution and waste. With signs of the Covid-19 pandemic slowing down, tourism is picking up but so is overtourism.
Similarly to the island of Iriomote, the Indonesian government has taken measures to reduce the number of visitors in the country’s Komodo island, home to the famous Komodo dragon. Travellers wishing to visit these exotic creatures will now have to disburse 230 euros to access the island.
In Europe too, Amsterdam is attempting to curb the number of tourists by replacing its “sex and drugs” reputation for the “stay away” campaign. The Dutch invested on digital advertisement to stop “nuisance tourists”. For example, if a British Internet user searches for a phrase like “pub crawl Amsterdam,” a video ad will pop up warning them of the potential risk of bad behaviors abroad, like going to the hospital or getting arrested.