Edinburgh can ‘no longer cope with its own popularity’

Edinburgh is listed ahead of Rome, Barcelona and Queenstown, New Zealand, as one of the world’s most overcrowded tourist hotspots
Edinburgh is listed ahead of Rome, Barcelona and Queenstown, New Zealand, as one of the world’s most overcrowded tourist hotspots (Picture: Getty Images)

Edinburgh has been listed alongside Amsterdam, Rome and Venice as one of the world’s worst hotspots for ‘overtourism’.

Drawing visitors from all over the globe, the city’s popularity has come at a cost, leaving it struggling with ‘overtourism’, it has been claimed.

A CNN travel report says the city ‘can no longer cope with its own popularity’.

It warns that Edinburgh faces a backlash from residents who have ‘had enough’ with ‘the problems that high tourist numbers are causing’.

In February, the City of Edinburgh Council voted to introduce a ‘tourist tax’ of £2 a day per visitor, however it seems unlikely to reduce numbers.

Residents have taken action against overtourism
Residents have taken action against overtourism (Picture: Getty Images)

Meanwhile, residents have taken to the city’s streets to stage ‘protests and non-violent direct action’ against overtourism, property developers and the ‘festivilisation’ of the city.

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A spokesman for the Citizen group, which campaigns against overtourism in Edinburgh, said: ‘The world is waking up to this crisis, even if the authorities in Edinburgh are mired in inertia and denial.

‘The problem is urgent. The situation is intolerable.’

The CNN report identifies 13 of the world’s most overcrowded tourist hotspots and lists the Scottish capital ahead of Rome, Barcelona and Queenstown, New Zealand.

Edinburgh attracts nearly 4 million visitors a year (Picture: Getty Images)
Edinburgh attracts nearly 4 million visitors a year (Picture: Getty Images)

The report states: ‘Overtourism is fast becoming one of the most hotly debated issues in the modern age of travel.

‘Thanks to cheaper air fares, rising incomes and social media’s ability to laser-focus attention on specific destinations, more travellers than ever before are descending on places that can no longer cope with their own popularity.’

In 2010, Edinburgh attracted 3.27million visitors. By 2015, the number had increased by nearly 600,000 to 3.85million.

City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey said: ‘While we can feel proud of our world-class status and our city’s ever-growing popularity, we’re very aware of the challenges we face.

‘We must also recognise and address the pressure on our core services and on residents.’

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