Are More Fees Really the Best Fix for Overtourism? (Looking at you, Mount Fuji)

Mount Fuji and Venice are establishing new fees and limits for tourists.
Updated May 8, 2024
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mount fuji at fall in japan

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It’s time to start making those summer travel arrangements, but if you plan to visit bucket list destinations abroad, you may need to invest time in a little additional planning before you head out.

The world’s most popular destinations are popular for a reason. Whether a cultural heritage or scenic beauty, these spots draw tourists in droves from across the globe — and those tourists frequently leave chaos in their wake, overwhelming infrastructure, destroying property, and not treating destinations with respect.

Many top global destinations are implementing new rules, and new fees, to help combat overtourism and the damage the crowds often leave in their wake. Mount Fuji is the latest location to add new fees and restrictions to protect one of Japan’s most well-known spiritual and natural landmarks.

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Mount Fuji’s fees and restrictions

tawatchai1990/Adobe tokyo cityscape with beautiful lightning at night with mount fuji in background

At 12,338 feet, Mount Fuji is the tallest point in Japan and one of the country’s Three Holy Mountains. The UNESCO World Heritage site hosts thousands of visitors every year — over 220,000 hiked the mountain from July through September of last year — who leave behind more than footprints.

Hikers frequently leave litter along trails, camp in restricted areas, and hike in inappropriate gear, leading to injuries. Sixty-one rescues were required from July to September last year, straining infrastructure and leading the local government to implement new rules.

Beginning July 1, hikers hoping to summit the iconic peak will need to pay a $13 fee for entry to the trails. Park officials will also enforce a 4,000 visitor per day limit, so visitors should plan to arrive early. Guides will be in place to ensure visitors do not stray from the trails and that hikers are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear to accommodate the steep and sometimes difficult terrain.

Venice is joining in too

Sailorr/Adobe boat cruising in venice's grand canal during the day.

Mount Fuji isn’t the only global destination to implement new rules to combat overcrowding. The city of Venice is finally implementing day visitor fees, a move that has been in the works since 2022. Starting in April, tourists planning to enter the ancient city will be required to purchase day pass tickets for $5.40.

City residents, commuters, and those planning on staying more than one day in the city will be exempt from the ticket requirement. All visitors, whether exempt from the fee or not, will be required to register their visit online.

Machu Picchu is no stranger to these fees

SCStock/Adobe green landscape of machu picchu

A tourist tax isn’t a new idea. Machu Picchu, the breathtaking Incan landmark, launched a fee-based policy back in 2019 to help combat overwhelming and sometimes disrespectful crowds. Tourists are required to register for specific times and pay a $45 fee for adults or a discounted rate of $23 for students.

Tickets are valid for four hours, and reentry is not allowed. Visitors may not wander the site and are required to be part of a tour, which is limited to 16 people, led by an official guide. Most importantly, depending on the day between 4,500 and 5,600 people are allowed to visit the site, so tourists should book early.

Bottom line

Courtney Haas/ woman city guide educating tourists

The world is full of wondrous places, but overtourism puts many of these natural treasures and cultural landmarks at risk. Many top destinations have begun implementing new rules to protect the world’s greatest destinations from overcrowding and irresponsible tourism practices.

Cultural, spiritual, and natural landmarks should be protected for generations to come and we should expect more destinations to enact strict regulations to preserve their history and their future. When stepping up your travel game, be sure to research and fully understand the fees and restrictions you may encounter before you begin your trip.

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