We thought we had it bad in wine country: Throngs Enticed by ‘Game of Thrones’ Threaten a Magical City

The cultural mania for tourism is collectively beginning to destroy quality of life in more and more areas of the world.  People everywhere are beginning to see the negative impacts.  We need to make the connection to the dangers of spoiling life for Sonoma County residents.

Throngs Enticed by ‘Game of Thrones’ Threaten a Magical City

DUBROVNIK, Croatia — Winter is coming.

But Katja Seref feels neither dread nor fear when she hears those words, uttered as a warning in “Game of Thrones.”

“I feel relief,” Ms. Seref said, still wearing her blue khaleesi dress, the costume of one of the characters vying to rule the Seven Kingdoms, after a grueling day leading yet another “Game of Thrones” tour. “It means I can get a break.”

Every summer, the hordes descend upon Dubrovnik, a gem of a Croatian city nestled on the Adriatic Sea. The crowds are drawn by the same magical beauty that has long appealed to Hollywood location scouts, like those who chose the city as the setting for the fictional King’s Landing on “Game of Thrones,” a hit show on HBO.

But the annual invading army of tourists toting selfie sticks threatens what attracted them in the first place. After all, it is hard to feel the sublime majesty of this place when crammed in an interminable line simply to gain entry into the city.

Every summer hordes of tourists descend upon Dubrovnik and its old city, a Unesco World Heritage site.CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

In recent years, the crowds have grown so bad that Dubrovnik in July has become synonymous with “over-tourism,” a plight shared by many of the world’s most beautiful places.

From the boulevards of Barcelona, Spain, to the canals of Venice, local officials have been struggling to deal with a similar problem: being loved too much, almost to death.

In addition to the crowds, the complaints of residents in tourist hot spots include the effect on the local property market and concerns about loutish, disrespectful visitors.

Local anger is likely to grow apace with the number of travelers. The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization estimates there will be 1.8 billion international tourist-related trips by 2030, up from 1.2 billion in 2016.

Officials in Dubrovnik have started to push back against the throngs.

This summer, they have cracked down on street vendors, limited the number of outdoor restaurant tables crowding the ancient alleyways and — most important — have sought more control over the cruise ships that send thousands of passengers flooding into the old town, a Unesco World Heritage site.

This year, the city has limited the number of people who can disembark from the cruise ships at a given time. Next summer, for the first time since they started pulling into port nearly two decades ago, cruise ships will face restrictions on when they will be allowed to dock.

It is an attempt to find the right balance of welcoming tourists — and their money — without being overwhelmed.

“There is no unique solution for every destination,” said Dubrovnik’s mayor, Mato Frankovic. “But it has to start with recognizing the problem.”

Just as there is no single solution, there is no single kind of tourist in Dubrovnik. You can find day-trippers, families on holiday, people on cruise ship excursions, history buffs, party people and, in a relatively new phenomenon, “set-jetters.”