When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

food / travel

Help, The Tourists Are Coming!

Noisy tourists who come by the bus-full, drunk Brits: many people living in European cities are fed up with the hordes of tourists that are threatening their quality of life.

Europeans have no love for tourists (Pim Geerts)
Europeans have no love for tourists (Pim Geerts)

BERLIN - Alone or in groups, there are more and more tourists – to the extent that some cities are swamped, and residents are protesting. Berlin is a case in point. Two years ago, nine million tourists visited the German capital. In 2011, that number jumped to 10 million. In terms of popular European city destinations, Berlin now stands right behind London and Paris, and on a par with Rome. There are three tourists for every Berliner.

An online-travel portal reported that 75 out of 80 German cities reported more tourists than the previous year. While the season for city tourism used to be May through September, it's now year round. And not just in Germany – tourism in Stockholm has gone up 8% January through March.

No city in the world beats New York in terms of tourism: 50.5 million a year, more than the entire population of Spain and six times that of Austria. But if New Yorkers are laid back about the phenomenon, it is not the case with the other over-run world metropolises. Take Barcelona, whose citizens are concerned for the quality of life in the old town Rivera and Gótico neighborhoods, where tourist buses clog the streets, noise at night prevents people from sleeping, and entrances to buildings are awash in litter and drunk Brits. In 2010, some irate citizens of the Catalan capital painted white lines on promenade sidewalks: one side for city residents, the other side for tourists.

In Berlin, one neighborhood info-meeting, called under the banner "Help, The Tourists Are Coming," had residents chanting "We are not a zoo!" Berliners can also buy T-shirts that proclaim in large letters: "I AM NOT A TOURIST."

Are cities prepared for the onslaught? A study published last November by the German consulting firm Roland Berger concluded that most European capitals don't have a clear tourism strategy. The firm says that other cities are likely to see the sorts of reactions observed in Berlin and Barcelona and warns: "When residents don't feel positive about visitors then long-term the best advertising in the world is worth nothing."

Hamburg has long been considered the poster child of German city tourism. For ten years, it has broken record after record, and the number of hotel beds has grown by 70%. To try and get a finger on the pulse of just how their residents feel about tourism, Hamburg Tourism launched an "Acceptance Study" in early 2012. Results were heartening: 96% didn't feel personally affected by the number of tourists, 75% reported "positive encounters," and 73% were pro-tourist because they meant income.

Tourism puts 7.4 billion euros into Hamburg's economy. The figures for Berlin and London are nine and 15 billion respectively.

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation

Read the full article in German by Frank Rumpf.

Photo - Pim Geerts

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ