Tourism

Could overtourism spoil European summers forever?

Laine Fullerton

After the 2017 ‘summer from hell’ in Europe, tourism officials are scrambling to make some much-needed changes to curb chronic overcrowding in major cities and hotspots.

With European summer just a few months away, it is yet to be revealed what solutions will be implemented to keep the locals happy without slashing the tourist economy too significantly.

According to The Guardian, World Tourism Organisation Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “What we are facing is the clear need to step up the governance of tourist flows on the ground.”

In 2017, there were 1.3 billion tourist arrivals around the world, virtually doubling since the year 2000.

Half of these arrivals were on the shores of Europe.

Europe welcomed 671 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, a record 8 per cent growth in comparison to 2016.

For the eighth consecutive year, the buzzing continent has maintained its position as the leading destination worldwide.

The latest European Travel Commission’s ‘European Tourism 2017 – Trends and Prospects’ report predicts a three to four per cent increase in tourism this year.

The fear is that many European destinations still lack a proactive approach to sustainable tourism.

After multiple protests in some of Europe’s tourism hotspots last year, the fate of this year’s summer season remains unresolved.

Polite protests in some Spanish cities quickly turned sour as locals boldly wrote: “Tourists go home.”

At the ITB travel convention in Berlin last week, prominent industry insiders came together in the world’s biggest gathering of its kind.

Dubrovnik’s mayor, Mato Franković, capped the tourist limit into the medieval city to 4,000 per day, half of UNESCO’s 8,000 recommendation.

“We don’t want to go with the maximum, we want to go lower than that,” he told The Telegraph.

After UNESCO warned Dubrovnik their world heritage status was at risk in 2016, Franković believes the city needs to “reset” and hopes 2018 will allow that.

Amsterdam has also banned beer bikes, touring cars, new tourist shops and cruise ships from its city centre, and Airbnb now pays tourist taxes in the diverse city.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s Tourism Director Joan Torrella insists that officials work with digital upstarts like Airbnb as opposed to confronting them.

As per The Guardian, Spanish officials have already introduced an online ticketing system for the Islamic palace of Alhambra, offering pre-booked slots for its 2.7 million annual visitors in an effort to spread out crowds.

The Greek island of Santorini is limiting cruise passengers to 8,000 per day this year.

While some solutions to help ‘smooth out’ tourists have been implemented, many of them are yet to be tested.

And there may not be much time for ‘trial and error’ as co-founder and executive chair of Intrepid Group, Darrell Wade, told TW the issue is now at “critical” status.

“If we don’t get it right it starts to kill the golden egg,” he said.

“If travellers are only ever seeing over-sold destinations with poor experiences and jaded locals, then they will stop travelling.”

Some destinations may simply just have too many tourists, while for other countries like Iceland it largely depends on where and when.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Road & Rail

Is New South Wales getting a fast rail?!

Fancy getting from Sydney to Canberra in just one hour? It could soon be a reality. Let’s just hope it doesn’t face as many setbacks as Sydney’s light rail.

Share

CommentComments

News

Toxic chemicals found at popular south coast tourist hotspot

Tourists are being warned about to steer clear of certain parts of Jervis Bay after toxic chemicals have been found in the water ahead of peak holiday season.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

This massive Amsterdam tourist attraction is gone for good

BREAKING: the I amsterdam sign has been removed! We’ve also been removed from the cafe downstairs after emptying the entirety of their chocolate powder onto our cappuccino.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Big Fat Wholesaler Wrap

Start getting excited, because there’s only two more Mondays until Christmas Eve! Which means this is our second last wholesaler wrap of the year – and boy, is it a goodie.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Overtourism should be “front of mind” says Insight Vacations Travel Director

by Lauren Croft

Insight Vacations’ Jake Stewart talks sustainable travel, overtourism, and life as a travel director. He sold the last one so well, we’re handing in our resignation today.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Is this destination the new Galapagos Islands?

Have you got clients who are interested in the Galapagos Islands but are put off by the prospect of travelling the 40 + hour slog? We’ve got just the thing.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Helloworld-owned business wins major government contract

Big congratulations are in order for QBT for taking out a new contract with the South Australian government! We’re using this as an excuse to have cake for lunch again.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean partners with WWF to protect Hawksbill turtles

Monday morning got you down? Here’s a feel-good story to give you a nice little pick-me-up. And if this doesn’t work, you have our permission to indulge in an extra coffee or two.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel slammed after staff make creepy effigy of guest’s dead son

You can bet your butt this article is just as cringy and awful as the headline suggests. We actually feel better about every embarrassing misunderstanding we’ve had after reading this.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas accused of “wage theft” over Christmas volunteer program

Qantas is being accused of “wage theft” and “Grinch” behaviour after launching a new program asking workers to volunteer at the airport over the busy period.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

The top destinations for honeymooning Aussies

Japan has just been crowned top trending destination for Aussie honeymooners! We’re considering marrying ourself as an excuse to take an impromptu trip.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Eiffel Tower and the Louvre forced to close as Paris riots continue

Meanwhile, we’re very close to forcing our office to close if our boss doesn’t change his policy on midday naps and early marks.

Share

CommentComments