It’s an odd experience to stand just outside Dubrovnik’s Old Town, with tour guides shouting “winter is coming!” as you swelter in 40°C heat and bump up against armies of sweating tourists. The touts are selling Game of Thrones
tours – Dubrovnik starred as King’s Landing in the TV series – but fans of the show are only partly responsible for the huge increase in visitor numbers here; an increase that marks Dubrovnik out as yet another casualty of overtourism.
Overtourism occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination – you can read more about the phenomenon in depth here.
Essentially Dubrovnik, in common with Barcelona, Reykjavik and even the Isle of Skye, is at the mercy of multiple forces which combine to bring thousands of tourists in each day. In August 2016, over 10,000 visitors bought tickets to walk Dubrovnik’s famous city walls in a single day
. In the same year, UNESCO threatened to remove Dubrovnik’s World Heritage Site status unless it curbed tourist numbers. Happily, change is slowly happening and local authorities are beginning to address the overtourism crisis, aware that unlike in Game of Thrones
, it’s not winter that’s coming, it’s tourists – and lots of them.