Every year the Oxford University Press, the largest university press in the world, and the second oldest after Cambridge University press, publishes the “Word of the Year“. The aim of the publication is to identify the new words and expressions that have aroused the greatest interest in the last 12 months. Oxford Languages ​​discusses the candidate words of the year and chooses the winning word or that word which more than others reflect the ethics, mood or concerns of that particular year, and which has a lasting potential as a cultural term.

One of the words identified by the Oxford of the Year this year is the term Overtourism, which we talked about and discussed with Ecobnb in various articles. The prestigious Oxford University Press in the definition of Overtourism mentions an article from Ecobnb.

Word of the Year 2018 - shortlist Oxford Languages

Here is the definition from Oxford Languages (published at this link):


An excessive number of tourist visits to a popular destination or attraction, resulting in damage to the local environment and historical sites and in poorer quality of life for residents.

A booming tourist trade has long been considered a highly valuable asset, however, for many, this outlook reached its limit in 2018.

Overtourism has become a heavy burden for numerous ‘must-see’ locations in recent years, with a sharp rise in international holidaymakers fuelled by budget airlines and the widespread popularity of rental platforms, like AirBnB. The resultant overcrowding has caused environmental, infrastructural, and cultural damage to a number of destinations, and directly impacted local residents’ lives as they are priced out of their homes to accommodate the tourist demand.

According to our data, use of overtourism shot up over the course of 2017, thanks in part to mass protests across Europe demanding action against the overtourism pandemic, and has subsequently emerged in 2018 as the go-to term, surpassing both ‘anti-tourism’ and ‘tourism-phobia’, which have been used to similar effect.

This year, local authorities have put increasingly stringent measures in place to regulate tourism, including rental restrictions on tourist lets in Madrid, fines for sitting in undesignated spots (along with many other offenses) in Venice, and capping the number of cruise ships permitted to dock in Dubrovnik.

Meanwhile, in June, Thailand’s Maya Bay was closed to the public 18 years after it was made famous by the 2000 film The Beach due to the damage excessive numbers of tourists had inflicted on the local ecosystem. Though the closure was only intended to last four months, Songtham Sukswang, director of Thailand’s Office of National Parks, has suggested that the bay will need ‘at least’ one year to recover from the effects of overtourism.

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Author: Silvia Ombellini

I am an architect with a passion for travel. I think it is urgent to be able to live in harmony with the ecosystem we are part of. After the birth of my second baby, Leo, I began to work at Ecobnb, an adventure undertaken to change the way we travel, to make it more sustainable, respectful of the environment, places and people.
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