Besides the positive effects of tourism, there can be negative ones as well. Over-tourism is one of them, meaning that there are so many tourists in a district or in a place that they disturb not only each other but also the locals.
We wrote here about how, according to a survey by statista.com, Budapest is the fifth worst city for over-tourism following destinations like Barcelona, Amsterdam, Venice and Milan. Now, the Institute for Sociology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and researchers from the Corvinus University of Budapest – Melanie Kay Smith, Gergely Olt, Adrienne Csizmady and Ivett Pinke-Sziva – have done a survey in which they asked residents, tourists, representatives of NGOs, bar owners and employees living, working or just spending some time in the party district of Budapest. Furthermore, they did field observations there, too – Index reported.
According to its definition, over-tourism means that locals, guests or bar owners of a district or place feel that the very high number of
tourists worsen the quality of living to an unbearable level there.
Such negative effects can be easily detected in the 6th and 7th districts where locals complain a lot because of the loud and sometimes even vandal tourists. According to the above-mentioned survey, guests of the local bars are mostly in their 20s and 30s while 70 pc of them are tourists. Employees working in such places say that young people come to consume alcohol and to have fun while tourists are mostly there to visit the famous ruin pubs. Among the tourists the researchers asked, there were more who arrived in Budapest
only to visit the ruin pubs (60.1 pc)
than of those who came here to see the city’s diverse and rich cultural heritage (42.7 pc). As a result, bar and restaurant prices are high in the party district, so there are fewer and fewer locals who can afford them. Therefore, they go to the outer districts to have fun.
According to the survey, citizen’s evolved opposition towards tourism in Budapest is the result of factors like growing crowds, increasing levels of criminal activity, rubbish, vomit and urine on the streets,
drunk and loud, sometimes even aggressive people everywhere at night,
and expensive restaurants and bars in the district. Locals above 50 are much more sensitive about these issues than those below 30, and altogether 18 pc of the residents plan to move away because of the above-mentioned reasons.
Many complain that their neighbourhood became a huge public toilet, and rubbish, prostitution or homelessness annoy them very much. However, interestingly, most of them did not have any conflicts with tourists, and everybody agreed that
even the inner districts of the Hungarian capital are safe at night.
Regarding the possible solutions, locals agreed that the level of cleaning should be raised. Female respondents mentioned better public transport and lighting while the older ones said that it would be good to have more taxis and police officers in the district, but some of them would even close bars at night. Younger respondents would like more 0-24 shops and public toilets in the district.
Experts would better the promotion of the cultural values of the district and would increase the level of the security there as well. They added that authorities should monitor bar tours better and regarded the ban of beer bikes as the right decision.
Index reported that based on an answer from Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér to a written question of 6th and 7th district’s MP, Lajos Oláh,
local police departments lack 67 police officers.
However, Pintér highlighted that maintaining public security is a common goal of all police units in Budapest in which intervention police also takes part. Therefore, there are enough police officers on the streets.
We wrote before that in Budapest, there should be 1,223 foot patrols; however, due to the massive labour shortage in the sector, there are only 920. Therefore, a quarter of the staff is missing which they try to solve with substitutions. In fact, Hungary struggles a lot with labour shortage which affects almost every sector of the economy. The most problematic sectors are public transport and service, tourism and IT. However, the issue also affects the public sector greatly. To make matters worse, even the shortage of doctors and nurses is getting worse.
Featured image: illustration, party district in Berlin.