Venice banned cruise ships, Mount Everest has traffic jams, and now even tourists are saying places like Amsterdam have too many tourists. It's all part of a problem dubbed overtourism.
Fewer than 1 million people live in Amsterdam, but city officials expect almost 20 million visitors this year. Most end up squeezing into the historic center of museums and canals and, of course, De Wallen, the oldest Red Light District in Amsterdam.
As a result, the center caters largely to tourists. Think cannabis cafes instead of grocery stores; trinket shops selling condom key rings instead of places where you can actually get keys made. And the smell of a popular stoner treat — waffles slathered with Nutella — replaces the fresh bread in bakeries.
"People come here and think that's our national food," Nap says, grimacing.
The problem is especially acute at night, when young, male tourists, usually drunk or stoned, treat Amsterdam's historic center like a naughty Disneyland.
Overtourism led the Thai government to shut down all access to Maya Bay, made famous in the film The Beach, after tourist pee and garbage caused so much damage that the whole area needed to recover.
Expect a lot more of this as earth's population increases by a few more billion on the coming decades.
• In Amsterdam, Even The Tourists Say There Are Too Many Tourists (NPR)
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