Top Destination News from August 2023

A diver is surrounded by fish off the Galapagos. (photo via Ecuador Tourism Board) ((photo via Ecuador Tourism Board))
Lacey Pfalz
by Lacey Pfalz
Last updated: 7:00 AM ET, Wed August 30, 2023

Check out the biggest destination news of August, 2023 right here!

Destination news from August centered around record-breaking numbers of travelers in destinations from Europe to the Caribbean, as well as news about the impact that our warming world has on destinations from Maui to Southern Europe. Click through the slideshow to read the biggest headlines, and if you'd like to read the full stories, click on the links provided in each slide. Don't want to miss a beat? Register for our TravelPulse newsletter today! 

European Countries See Overtourism as an Epidemic

An August feature focusing on overtourism shows some ways European hotspots are beginning to curtail the waves of travelers this year as destinations consider more sustainable alternatives. 

Greece to Cap Visitor Numbers to Acropolis in Athens

Officials in Greece announced this August that they would begin capping the numbers of visitors allowed each day into the Acropolis, Athens' most iconic ancient landmark, as overtourism becomes a major problem in Europe.

The Great Barrier Reef Stays Off UNESCO's Endangered List This Year

The Great Barrier Reef system stayed off UNESCO's endangered list this year. It has been considered for placement on the list due to the impact of climate change and pollution, which are harming the world's largest reef system. Officials in Australia have been stepping up conservation efforts and therefore, the reef isn't considered endangered for another year.

UNESCO Recommends Adding Venice to World Heritage Sites in Danger List

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site may be placed on the organization's endangered list next month: Venice. The city has seen some negative impacts due to both climate change and overtourism, so officials will be discussing whether the site should be listed as endangered. 

As Climate Change Worsens, One Industry CEO Says Visits to Southern Europe May Become Intolerable

Europe hasn't just seen a rise in travelers this summer: it's seen record-level heat waves, especially in southern Europe. Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton shared his prediction that this region of the world simply won't be as comfortable to visit in summer as in previous years.

Tour Operators Call to Limit Tourism to the Galapagos Islands

The International Galapagos Tour Operators Association is calling on the Ecuadorian government to start capping land-based travel to the biodiverse island chain the way that cruise tourism has been regulated for nearly twenty-five years. This request comes following a growth of land-based tourism to the islands, which the association believes could become detrimental to the islands' ecosystems should it continue to grow unchecked.

How Costa Rica is Leading the Way in Sustainable Tourism

A new feature dives into Costa Rica's particular style of sustainability. Learn why this small Central American country was awarded the United Nations' highest environmental award, the Champions of the Earth Award.

With Its Iconic Glacier Receding Juneau’s Tourism Industry Ponders Future

Juneau, a famous Alaskan cruise port known for being the site where travelers can view the Mendenhall glacier, begins pondering its future as experts predict the glacier will no longer be visible from the current viewing site by as soon as 2050. According to current data, the glacier has receded as much as eight football fields from 2007 to 2021.

China Reopens Group Tours for US, Other Popular Countries

China once again began allowing tour groups from several countries, including the United States, to visit the country as it begins rolling back its COVID-19 travel restrictions. China is one of the last countries to do this, and has had a much stricter set of restrictions than many others.

Barbados Officials Predicting Record Cruise Season

Barbados is predicting a record cruise season this year, with about 45 new cruise ship calls and over 115,000 more travelers than the last cruise season. 

International Visitors Spent Record $17.4 Billion in the United States in June

The National Travel and Tourism Office of the United States saw a nearly 25 percent increase in international visitor spending from June to July of this year, despite sometimes agonizingly slow visa wait times. 

Brazil Is Bringing Back Visa Requirements for US Travelers

Beginning October 1, travelers from the U.S., Canada and Australia will have to obtain an electronic visitor visa to visit Brazil, according to an official announcement made this August. 

Dominican Republic Posts Best-Ever July Visitor Arrivals

The Dominican Republic is also breaking its own visitor records: this August, the small half-island nation reported welcoming over 792,000 travelers in July alone, exceeding 700,000 monthly travelers for the first time ever.

While West Maui Is Closed, the Rest of Maui Is Still Open for Travelers

As West Maui continues to recover, reclaim and rebuild following the devastating wildfire, government officials have stated and encouraged travelers to continue visiting the rest of the island, which is open for travelers. 

US Remains World Leader in Retail Tourism

New research conducted by the World Travel & Tourism Council showcases how the United States' retail tourism comprises 6 percent of the nation's travel and tourism revenue. Using data from 2019, the council also reported that the nation leads the world in retail tourism.

Global Tourism Projected to Reach $15.5 Trillion in 10 Years

A new Economic Impact Report from the World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that global tourism will grow its GDP to $15.5 trillion by 2033.

DeSantis’ Oversight Committee Now Going After Disney World Employee Perks and Discounts

The drama between Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney World continued in August as his handpicked oversight committee received a $2.5 million bill from Disney asking them to pay for Disney's employee benefits, such as free parks passes and other discounts.

Bhutan Halves Its Daily Tourist Fee To Attract More Travelers

Bhutan is encouraging more travelers to visit the kingdom by cutting its daily tourist fee in half as it struggles to recover following the COVID-19 pandemic.

China Lifts Mandatory COVID Testing for Incoming International Travelers

For the first time in a long time, international travelers heading to China will no longer face any COVID-19 testing requirements beginning August 30.

Check out what you might have missed in destination news from August, 2023.

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Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

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Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me