“Overtourism” is not only a problem in Venice and Barcelona; German coastal areas are also struggling with masses of tourists at their North Sea beaches. To better distribute visitors across different locations along the North Sea coast, the umbrella marketing organisation “Die Nordsee GmbH” relies on LiDAR sensors from the Munich-based manufacturer Blickfeld.
From an article in Travel Daily Media by Kanchan Nath.
The weatherproof sensor technology is used to count beach visitors anonymously and visualise the occupancy rates at tourist hotspots. Visitors can thus obtain information before making a trip and, if necessary, choose an alternative destination with a lower volume of visitors.
In terms of coastal kilometres, Germany cannot compete with many neighbouring countries, but the German North Sea and Baltic Sea beaches are very popular nevertheless. During the pandemic, when travelling abroad involved greater expense and uncertainty compared to before, the rush to German coasts was great. As much as the German tourism industry is delighted about the renewed love for the North Sea and Baltic Sea, it is still looking at the development with some concern. In fact, the 2020 and 2021 summers attracted such large crowds to the coasts that these were barely manageable.
Burden on environment, residents and vacationers
The heavy crowds have negative impacts from three perspectives. Firstly, overcrowding on beaches poses a threat to sensitive ecosystems in the North Sea, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea. Many visitors produce a lot of waste and move around areas where they should not interfere, disturbing flora, fauna and endangering the environment.
Additionally, the high demand for recreation on the North Sea beaches leads to parked-up streets, crowded downtown areas and overcrowded promenades – which causes a lot of stress for locals, especially during the summer months. This particularly affects the communities on the North Sea coast of Lower Saxony which profit strongly from tourism, such as Wangerland, which has around 2 million overnight guest stays and around 600,000 daily travellers per year. According to a study by the German Institute for Tourism Research, some residents surveyed even go so far as to say that the large masses of tourists mean that they no longer truly feel at home.
Even the excursionists and vacationers themselves do not enjoy the full experience when laying towel to towel amongst other visitors, or when struggling to find parking spaces.
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