‘Hypertourism’ The New Buzzword in Travel

Italy Coins New Word For Too Many Tourists

Image of an overcrowded Europe. Credit: Arthimedes/Shutterstock.com

‘Overtourism’ is a relatively new word that has been in circulation since 2015. However, according to a renowned source, it looks set to be replaced by a new one that has recently entered an Italian dictionary.

Italy’s oldest encyclopaedia, Treccani, founded in 1925 by Giovanni Treccani and Giovanni Gentile and currently overseen by ex-Culture Minister Massimo Bray, acknowledged a term that’s been gaining traction: hypertourism, writes La Stampa.

The Birth Of A Word

Derived from the English ‘overtourism’, hypertourism has now found its place in the revered Italian dictionary. This inclusion signifies the term’s importance, suggesting it’s not just a fleeting trend. The word combines the Greek prefix ‘hyper’, meaning ‘above’, with ‘tourism’, encapsulating the essence of an excessive tourist influx.

What Does It Mean?

Hypertourism, a masculine noun, describes the overwhelming concentration of tourists in renowned cities and sites during specific times. This deluge can potentially harm monuments, the environment, and disrupt local life.

Notably, Paolo Della Sala took the opportunity to explain the term and, at the same time, have a playful dig at Italians who pepper their sentences with English words. In an article dated April 13 this year, he said: ‘Overtourism here we will call it “Iperturismo”, so as not to ape those who say “I am cool if I use English words in Italy”. ‘

‘Well, overtourism by masses of escapees from the living room  at home (tourists) has even been defined by the World Tourism Organisation as “the impact… that excessively, and negatively, influences the perceived quality of life of citizens and/or the quality of visitor experiences”. I deduce the axiom: hypertourism is a severe detriment to tourism’.

The Global Impact Of Hypertourism

From now on, the term hypertourism can be used without any reservations. However, it’s redundant to pair ‘hypertourism’ with ‘mass’ – as this is a redundancy. This surge in tourism isn’t just affecting cities.

Globally, since 1998, the number of tourists has skyrocketed to three billion, contributing to seven per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Some even label it ‘toxic tourism’, although that word hasn’t found its way into Treccani just yet.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.