The resurgence of tourism in Europe this summer, fuelled by American “revenge tourists” eager to explore again, is having a significant impact on hotels in popular destinations.

After enduring the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, hotels are now experiencing a surge in bookings as travel restrictions ease and people eagerly embark on long-awaited vacations.

After a three-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, tourism in Europe is making a strong comeback, with some popular destinations expected to surpass 2019 records this summer.

The resurgence in travel is primarily driven by American tourists, who are taking advantage of a strong dollar and, in some cases, their pandemic savings.

Despite the high prices and crowded attractions, these “revenge tourists” are undeterred in their quest for exploration.

Crowds and high prices raise concerns

The return of mass tourism is undoubtedly a boon for hotels and restaurants that suffered under Covid-19 restrictions. However, concerns have been raised about the sustainability and long-term effects of this surge.

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Despite the pandemic serving as a potential lesson to rethink tourism and make it more sustainable, the current focus seems to be on recovering financially, rather than on long-term planning.

Experts warn that current prices are unsustainable and may have negative consequences in the future.

Over-tourism in popular destinations

One of the contributing factors to the overcrowding in major European cities is the proliferation of short-term apartment rentals.

As the number of hotel rooms remains constant, the surge in short-term rentals has inflated tourist numbers, leading to long queues for taxis and congested streets.

Cities such as Florence, Italy, are taking action to limit the number of short-term rentals in their historic centres. But in the Italian city of Venice, a well-known tourist magnet that has previously suffered from overcrowding, no measures have yet been implemented. The result is a rising number of tourists compared to the dwindling local population.

Tourist hotspots grapple with influx

Popular tourist destinations such as the Acropolis in Athens, the Colosseum in Rome, and St. Mark’s Square in Venice are facing challenges in managing the overwhelming influx of visitors.

Long queues, extended waiting times and crowded attractions have become the new norm. In an attempt to regulate visitor flow, the Greek Culture Ministry plans to introduce a new ticketing system for the Acropolis, providing hourly slots for visitors.

But issues such as the mooring of cruise ships on islands such as Mykonos and Santorini remain unaddressed.

While the tourism industry welcomes the economic boost from increased travel, the consequences of over-tourism and the strain on local infrastructure and resources cannot be ignored.

Efforts must be made to strike a balance between attracting tourists and preserving the cultural and environmental heritage of these popular destinations.

Despite the challenges posed by the crowds, high prices and potential sustainability issues, tourists, particularly Americans, remain undeterred. With the “revenge tourism” trend in full swing, it appears that the summer of 2023 will be a historic one for tourism in Europe.