Viral social media posts have been blamed for sudden waves of tourism in the Yorkshire Dales where locals complain they have been left “under siege” from an influx of visitors.
The national park saw a huge tourism surge during Covid – and visitor numbers have continued to climb post-pandemic.
This has escalated complaints over litter, traffic and anti-social behaviour, with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority facing repeated calls to take greater action to manage the impacts.
Councillor Richard Foster, leader of Craven District Council, said “most of the problems” have been caused by TikTok and YouTube videos which put pressure on Dales communities by drawing scores of visitors to beauty spots.
“We have got a big problem as people have now found the Dales and want to go to the honeypot locations,” he told a recent council meeting.
“Threshfield Quarry is a prime example – an influencer posted ‘come to the blue lagoon’ and next thing you know everybody is turning up.
“We had similar incidents at Burnsall with a TikTok post which mean that all of sudden the village was full with people from as far away as Brighton and Bournemouth.
“We are actively encouraged to get people to come out into the countryside and get involved with nature, but they seem to want to turn the countryside into a town in great heaps together.”
His comments come after the council carried out a review into the impacts of tourism and made several recommendations for better management.
The council suggested more litter bins and park rangers are introduced in the Dales, and that the national park authority should better engage with parish councils which gave evidence during the review.
It was led by Settle and Ribblebanks councillor David Staveley who said tourism should be encouraged because it is a key part of the economy, but that it had to be better managed.
He said litter was a particular problem for parish councils which are “picking up the tab” because of the national park authority’s no bins policy.
Councillor Staveley said: “This aspiration that visitors will take their litter home with them is for the birds – it is not what is happening.
“Unless they want their streets to be strewn with litter, the parish councils are left with the idea that they have to pay for bins out of their precept.”
The national park authority previously hit back at the review, saying it would not budge from its no litter bins policy as it believes “bins attract more litter and that visitors should be encouraged to take their litter home with them”.
Its chief executive David Butterworth also said claims that there “doesn’t appear to be any coordination” between the authority and event organisers for attractions such as the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge are “simply incorrect”.