Overtourism seems like the latest buzz word in travel, but, as Travel Tomorrow has already reported, it’s causing very real issues for destinations, their visitors, wildlife, and inhabitants all over the world. Amid attempts by some to control visitor numbers and manage their impact, a new analysis by MoneyTransfers.com has now ranked the world’s most overcrowded places – and it’s not good news for Asia.
MoneyTransfers.com took international arrivals data from a Euromonitor International study and all population data and figures for most visited countries from World Population Review.
Islands, beaches and water-oriented destinations seemed to fare less well than cities.
The top three of the ten most overcrowded destinations, according to MoneyTransfers, are in Thailand. Already a famous backpacking stop when it featured alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach and went stratospheric, Phuket, takes the number one spot. Rainforests, idyllic white sand beaches, buzzing nightlife, delicious street food and culture it may have, but it also has 118 visitors for every one local resident.
Pattaya, another notable party resort, and Krabi, a watersport-enthusiast’s heaven, took second and third places respectively on the overcrowding list of shame.
Macau in China is another Asian destination where overcrowding is a problem, coming in at number six on the list. The devolved Chinese “Special Administrative Region” is a former Portuguese colony, known to some as the “Las Vegas of the East” because its service industry is dominated by casinos and gambling. Even before any visitors arrive, it is already the most densely populated region in the world, with a population density of 21,340 people per square kilometre.
The Mediterranean and around
Turkey and Egypt destinations take the fourth and fifth spots in the overcrowding top ten, with Mugla, on Turkey’s southwestern coast where the Med meets the Aegean, and Hurghada, on Egypt’s Red Sea.
Italy’s Venice took the number eight slot, while two Greek island destinations were also called out: Heraklion, known as the capital of Crete (number 7), and Rhodes (at number 9). Greece also came third in the list of world’s most visited countries (topped by Hong Kong and, at number one, surprisingly perhaps, Austria).
Miami was the only US destination to feature, at number 10 on the list.
The top 10 most overcrowded tourist destinations:
- Phuket, Thailand
- Pattaya, Thailand
- Krabi, Thailand
- Mugla, Turkey
- Hurghada, Egypt
- Macau, China
- Heraklion, Greece
- Venice, Italy
- Rhodes, Greece
- Miami, USA
And the least crowded?
Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Beijing made up the top three least crowded destinations in the list, with just 0.2 visitors per inhabitant.