As many as seven million people annually visit the Colosseum in Rome, an average of about 19,200 a day. Fortunately, the ancient arena was built to hold 50,000 people, but the impacts of so many tourists still takes its toll. They’ve been caught causing damage like scratching their initials into the walls of the historic site, and Roman officials have had to ban tourist buses in the city center to help protect the historic landmarks from pollution.
This overtourism is straining infrastructure, displacing locals, damaging historic landmarks, and resulting in suffocating crowds, long lines, and harm to the visitors themselves.
This list is based on TripAdvisor’s most-booked attractions in the world in 2019. Many of the popular tours booked at these places are “skip-the-line” tours or “after-hours” tours, evidence of the overwhelming crowds. These tours can be expensive: private tours of the Vatican museum an hour before it opens go for around $440 a person, according to the Guardian, while a skip-the-line ticket to the Colosseum listed on TripAdvisor starts at about $70, in peak season.
A report by the World Travel and Tourism Council says as more people in the world get richer and travel more, more places will likely be threatened by their own popularity.