It’s official: this is the world’s most overcrowded tourist destination

The Thai island of Phuket hosts a whopping 118 tourists for every local resident

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Phuket market, Thailand
Photograph: Shutterstock

It’s great news for businesses and travellers alike that travel has returned to pre-pandemic normality, and many of us are holidaying again. However, overtourism is having a dire impact on many popular destination, and some places have been forced to implement measures to control tourist numbers. 

Bali has placed numerous bans on tourist activity, Venice is introducing a tourist tax, the Acropolis will soon have caps on visitor numbers, and locals in Austria took to protesting about the excessive numbers of visitors in their town. 

Apparently, Edinburgh castle is the most overcrowded tourist attraction in the UK, and Bath is the most overcrowded city.

But where in the world is being impacted the most? A study by has compiled a list of the most overcrowded destinations in the world, and ranking at number one is (drum roll, please) Phuket, in Thailand

It’s no surprise Phuket is so popular – it’s the largest Thai island, and boasts around 90 kilometres of coastline. It’s home to Kata and Karon, two of the world’s best beaches, and is popular with scuba divers, but also has an abundance of vibrant markets and incredible seafood. 

The stats on its tourism, however, are pretty wild. According to the study, the island hosts around 118 tourists for every local resident. But Phuket’s not the only overcrowded destination in Thailand. Ranking in second and third place on the list are Pattaya and Krabi, two more super popular Thai holiday destinations. 

The top 10 list is also occupied by two Turkish destinations, Mugla and Hurghada, and two Greek destinations, Heraklion and Rhodes

Here are the top 10 most overcrowded tourist destinations in the world, according to

  1. Phuket, Thailand
  2. Pattaya, Thailand
  3. Krabi, Thailand
  4. Mugla, Turkey
  5. Hurghada, Turkey
  6. Macau, China
  7. Heraklion, Greece
  8. Venice, Italy
  9. Rhodes, Greece
  10. Miami, USA

Did you see that these countries have officially been named the best in the world?

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out Travel newsletter for all the latest travel news. 

You may also like
You may also like