Croatia is an increasingly popular travel destination due to the country’s natural beauty and charming old towns seemingly untouched by modern life, but a spike in tourism is causing problems in the idyllic nation.
Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Croatia’s picturesque city of Dubrovnik is popular with cruises due to its wonderful location, but it will soon start turning tourists away.
Dubrovnik is at risk of losing its UNESCO World Heritage Site status due to a spike in tourism in recent years and the city’s mayor Mato Frankovic has proposed capping the number of tourists that can visit per day.
According to The Telegraph, UNESCO recommends the city caps the number of visitors to the city at 8,000 but Frankovic is going a step further, putting the cap at 4,000.
“I am not here to make people happy, but to make the quality of life [in this city] better," Franković said.
“Some of the cruise lines will disagree with what I'm saying, but my main goal is to ensure quality for tourists and I cannot do it by keeping the situation as it is.
“It is a fact that we need to reduce [the] number of tourists, especially ones coming from cruises. Our aim for the next year is to reduce it to 4,000 at a time.”
Popular TV show Game of Thrones is said to be in part to blame for the overcrowding problem, as Dubrovnik is the setting for the main city in the series, with the Old Town being hugely popular for western tourists.
In 2016, there were 529 cruise calls in Croatia compared to 484 in 2011 when the series began.
It’s not the only place in the region that can’t keep up with tourist demand. The Greek island of Santorini is having problems of its own.
While tourism is undoubtedly beneficial for Greece’s crippled economy and alarming unemployment rate, the infrastructure to support the number of travellers visiting isn’t enough.
The Greek island of Santorini is reportedly at breaking point due to its popularity – it’s a relatively cheap getaway for travellers from the UK and people travel across the globe to see its iconic cliffs.
Venice is another European that’s struggling to keep up due to the number of visitors, with Venitians not wanting to live in the city anymore. According to Venice’s tourism chief Paola Mar, in the summer months the city is “like war”, where you can barely walk down the streets due to the sheer number of people.
If you want to avoid the masses of tourists, the best thing to do is to travel in the off-season – you will undoubtedly save yourself not only the headache of the crowds, but money too.
This article originally appeared on Travel at 60.