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G20 ministers vow to address issue of 'over-tourism' at Hokkaido meeting

Kyodo

Tourism ministers from the Group of 20 leading industrialized nations and emerging economies agreed Saturday to step up efforts to address friction between visitors and local residents and the destruction of nature through what is called ‘over-tourism.’

In a declaration issued after a two-day meeting in Kutchan, Hokkaido, the ministers agreed to “work toward managing tourism for the benefit of visitors and local communities.”

While welcoming tourism as a vehicle for economic growth and job creation, the declaration said the growth of tourism “creates important challenges” such as the preservation of natural resources, congestion management and the relationship with host communities.

“We must study measures to address friction between tourists and locals, as well as to protect the environment,” tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba, who presided over the meeting, said at a news conference.

Cities such as Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Venice in Italy have suffered from issues related to overcrowding from an excess of tourists.

In Japan, issues like traffic congestion and garbage dumping are seen in tourist destinations such as Mount Fuji, Kyoto and Kanagawa Prefecture’s Kamakura.

The G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

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