2007 - 2021

Crowded Out – Scotland’s Over Tourism Problem

The crisis of over-tourism has arrived in Edinburgh with vested interests too slow and compromised to respond. Hyper-defensiveness, a succulent lamb arts media and a city council clueless about how to do anything other than feeding a Cash Cow are all part of the problem.

Inertia and business-as-usual only works if you’re in The Bubble.

In the next few weeks a proper coordinated response will be announced.

Here’s a film of how the problem is manifesting itself across the world. While Edinburgh isn’t mentioned, the stories from Barcelona and Venice will be familiar.


Crowded Out: The Story Of Overtourism from Responsible Travel on Vimeo.

Comments (4)

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  1. Lord Mac says:

    There should be a levy of £ 5 per day, due to the extra work for litter picking, bin emptying, for council parks tidying up and road sweeping and of course extra sewage disposal, and it to be collected by the environmental council from, hotel ,and hostels and landlord’s as other country’s have no shame in helping themselves to the extra income

  2. maxwell macleod says:

    Thanks Mike, I think this is a great start and I agree with the core thesis that there is something very dysfunctional, and indeed ecologically wasteful about our global obsession with going to gawp at others. Indeed it is probably one of the main activities of the middle class globally, going and looking at other, usually with only a shallow engagement.
    But how to progress? I run two Air bnbs and whilst I recognise that they generate many problems they are also in my mind often more constructive than people living in hotels. For someone to live by a small budget hotel and then travel by air round the world to stay in an identical budget hotel, take two hundred inconsequential photographs and speak to nobody, that has surely to be less worthy than to go and stay with someone, eat local food and engage in constructive conversation
    I never spend less than an hour with my guests and engage with them on the core cultural issues of the city. I think there may be huge commercial pressures from hoteliers to get rid of Airbnbs and I don’t think we should bow to those pressures before we resolve this issue. Thanks for the posting.

    1. Thanks Max – yes I think the problem of Air BnB isn’t that its a bad idea in itself – just that it is completely unregulated. The problem isnt someone renting a room out, the problem is this proliferating and somone who already owns one or two properties owning several more and exacerbating the housing crisis.

  3. Lorraine Moore says:

    When an Air B and B popped up in our stairwell last year I was really upset and angry, why?! Several reasons – one being that the neighbour put 2 key boxes on our tenement front door (one for ‘guests’ and one for ‘service’) and they didn’t have to consult with neighbours on this, they just appeared! That kind of Air B and B seems so remote from any kind of service to the guests. Folk turn up, open the door, have not been met by anyone so feel disconnected from any neighbours – perhaps this increases anti-social behaviour. An acquaintance of mine is an Air B and B host (looks after others flats for a fee) and she agreed that this kind of Air B and B does do damage to the company. She felt that meeting guests and having a connection with them helps the whole experience for all concerned.
    Another reason is the anti social aspect, as my friend who has a holiday flat let above her own flat in Haymarket will tell me nearly every week if not month. The banging doors, banging floors and banging going in the bed with their own loud noises from morning to night! She really has had enough. She regularly complains to the owner of the flat, but he’s out to make money.
    Flats are being snapped up by people simply out to make money while ordinary folk are paying huge rents to live here with little chance of owning their own flat. The balance is tipping far too far for people making the money without having to jump through any hoops – no registration, no environmental checks (do all Air B and Bs have fire extinguishers for example?)
    I have lived in my flat in Leith for over 10 years and the increase in tourists visiting here has been huge – the very fact that we don’t actually know the true figure of flats being turned into Air B and Bs is a little scary.
    I think the principle of Air B and B is a good one – turn your spare room over to holiday makers and enjoy the local aspect of holidaying … but this has been ruined because whole flats in stairwells have pushed out residents, ruining any sense of community for those still left in their stairwells. I await the new planning laws going through true Scottish Parliament with interest – but will the powers be enough to sort out this massive problem in Edinburgh and Scotland?

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