Overpopulated Tourism Traps

One of the challenges we face today when it comes to tourism all over the world is how to avoid overpopulating a destination. “Why does this happen?” Is a question we might ask ourselves, and “how can we possibly avoid it?” is another.

I have myself been to Preikestolen a few years ago in the summer time, and I was not expecting the sight that met me, we where practically walking in a queue all the way up to Preikestolen, and when we where supposed to take in the beautiful view at the top, the stone itself was also overpopulated and we did not get the experience we wanted. I had imagined a hike with few people and a chance to take in the view in silence and peace at the top. I was so disappointed not in the view itself but the whole experience, the view was beautiful and breathtaking but I had no chance to take it in peace and harmony, it was rather a stressful experience.


Photo: Preikestolen, Renate Skar Skulstad 2012

Another experience I’ve had was when I went to Canada back in 2012, I was looking forward to see the Niagara Falls in Canada. The first thing that met me when I’ve got there was that the whole sight where surrounded by casinos, hotels and shops, they had built a small city surrounding the nature. The whole idea I’ve had in my head about a beautiful fall in the middle of nowhere was broken into pieces. The Niagara Falls itself was still beautiful but the surroundings and all the people at the same time ruined this experience for me.


Photo: Niagara Falls, Renate Skar Skulstad 2012

This is only two examples of how a destination can be overpopulated and ruined by (1) either it’s surroundings who generates overpopulation for a destinations or (2) overpopulations itself, for me both of these destinations is a symbol of overpopulated tourism traps.

So I will try answer the two questions I’ve asked in the beginning, (1) “Why does this happen?” In the example of the Niagara Falls, there seemed to be no plan whatsoever for all the shops, hotels and casinos and shopping malls surrounding the site. It looked horrible, and ruined the nature experience, in other words the whole package became wrong. With more planning and also creating a distance from the site itself and the “City” would have given a more positive experience. Also by having a limited number of visitors at the same time as for Preikestolen would have changed the experience for me. Another thing that also creates overpopulation of a site is the popularity of a site, tourist guides and word of mouth creates this, by directing tourist to off the beaten track, could be a solution to this, but we shall keep in mind that a site also has a limit of how many visitors it can take at the same time. When we go to a museum we expect to stand in a line, but not when we are supposed to enjoy the nature.

There are ways to avoid overpopulated tourism traps (2), some of them are listed above, and here are some more:

  • Guided tours outside the normal routes
  • More to see than the tourist guide
  • Beautiful places even though not “listed”
  • Guide tourist to visit unknown places
  • Find a variety of places to show, there are many viewpoints in the world.

Feel free to contact us at Fjord& and get information about how to avoid overpopulated tourism traps in Norway, and we will give you an experience lasting a lifetime outside the normal tourism routes, or if there is somewhere your really want to go recommend you to visit a certain site in the low-season or take you a different route to the destinations if possible.

Written by: Renate Skar Skulstad


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