What is Overtourism - Sustainable Travel Family

What is Overtourism? – A Quick Guide

Terms such as ‘overtourism’ and even ‘tourismphobia’ have made several headline appearances in recent times.

Overtourism reflects the challenges of managing the ever increasing tourism flows into top destinations and the impact of tourism on cities and its residents.

What is Overtourism

My dictionary doesn’t even seem to know what overtourism is, let me explain. In 2016, Rafat Ali, the CEO and founder of Skift is said to have created (and later trademarked) the word ‘overtourism’

can be defined as “the impact of tourism on a destination,
or parts thereof, that excessively influences perceived
quality of life of citizens and/or quality of visitors
experiences in a negative way”.

What is Overtourism - Pinterest Sustainable Travel Family

You may have seen articles in the news giving examples of overtourism in Venice, Italy and Maya Bay, Thailand. But Venice and Thailand are not alone.

Dubrovnik, Machu Picchu, Iceland and Barcelona have all made headlines in the last few years for taking action against the negative impact that tourism has brought.

You’ll just need to Google the term and it will present current stories.

What’s causing increasing global tourism trends? More affordable transport such as low-cost airfares, increased mobility – more options than ever before to travel from one city to another.

The growing middle classes around the world; notably from China, competitive accommodation options such as Airbnb, all these factors will continue to stimulate an increased demand for tourism.

Over Tourism in Venice - Sustainable Travel Family

Addressing Overtourism – What can be done?

So we know what overtourism is and some examples of destinations which suffer from it. Let’s see how overtourism can be tackled.

Managing tourism that’s in the benefit of the tourists and local communities has been an important issue for the tourism industry for some time. It can only be sustainable if developed and managed.

Ways of managing can be achieved through careful planning that respects the limits of capacity, congestion management, reduction of seasonality and through community engagement such as understanding residents’ attitude towards tourism.

One – Develop and promote visitor attractions and facilities by hosting more events in less visited parts of the city and wider country.

Two – Improved capacity of and time spent at attractions which gain most tourists. One example can be seen at Machu Piccu which limits visitor numbers.

Three – Avoid Peak Times – Tour operators can promote experiences during off- peak months to spread out tourist numbers during the year.

Four – Stimulate the development of guided tours through less-visited parts of the city with city guides and books highlighting hidden treasures.

Five – Review regulation and taxation on hotels and other accommodation.

Six – Stimulate development of impoverished neighbourhoods through tourism such as increasing the level of employment in tourism creating decent jobs with fair wages.

Seven – Develop tourism experiences and products that promote the engagement of residents and visitors.

Eight – Create awareness of overtourism amongst visitors by educating visitors on local values, cultures and traditions. When you travel to a new country aim to escape the tourist bubble and get to know how the locals live and embrace community based tourism, such as this in the Maldives.

Nine – The creation of dynamic experiences for niche visitors. Many tourists seek out opportunities to stay and live with local communities; choosing home-stays over hotels.

Ten – Destinations that currently have no problems with overtourism need to be aware of the potential impact of increasing visitor numbers and be able to plan accordingly for such scenarios.

You can also see here, tips on being a more sustainable tourist.

What is Overtourism - Pinterest Sustainable Travel Family

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