Tourism

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

Lauren Croft

Imagine a job which requires you to wake up in Florence one day and drive across the Alps the next. Hard to believe, right?

Well, that’s exactly what Jake Stewart does for a living.

He’s the travel director at Insight Vacations, and admits the job has its perks.

“I get to meet new people every day, explore the world and pass on my knowledge and excitement to each guest I meet,” he told Travel Weekly.

Stewart also got to feature in the first episode of the brand new Helloworld Travel TV show – an opportunity he said was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

“It turns out I was in Paris at the right place and right time during filming! I was more than happy to speak about my experiences as a travel director with the host, Vince Sorrenti,” he said.

Stewart and Sorrenti showed viewers the best of the Paris foodie experience together, with a focus on local stores away from the tourist attractions – and you can check out clips from the series here.

Stewart said being away from the main tourist attractions is where the future of travel is headed, particularly as historical sites will be harder and harder to get into in the future.

“Access to historical sites is going to become more limited, in light of preserving the site for the future, understandably. As an example, look at the Colosseum and how hard it can be at times to secure tickets as an independent traveller,” Stewart said.

“More and more historical sites are going to get harder to access and careful planning will be extremely necessary to ensure you’re able to visit and experience the sites that you want.”

In fact, Insight Vacations encourage their guests to travel outside of peak seasons – both to ensure they get to visit where they want and to combat overtourism.

“Overtourism is definitely a trending topic, and one that should be front of mind for both tourists and locals to ensure cities and destinations stick around for generations.

“That’s why we encourage guests, whenever possible, to travel in the shoulder seasons – autumn, winter or spring. These seasons are stunning and have the obvious perks such as fewer crowds, value for money and lower impact on the environment too,” Stewart added.

But it’s not just travellers who impact the environment via how they travel – it’s tourism companies, too. Which is why Insight Vacations have a partnership with The TreadRight Foundation, working with local communities as well as their own offices.

“We recently announced our single-use plastic ban by 2022 and earlier this year we partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for each guest that opts for e-documentation over printed docs,” Stewart said.

“A selection of Insight trips feature TreadRight experiences too, and speak to our commitment to encourage the cultures, traditions and arts of the communities we visit. Coach travel is also a more sustainable mode of transport, creating approximately 85 per cent less CO2 per passenger kilometre than car and air travel.”

And sustainable travel is what more and more travellers are wanting, according to Stewart.

“We’re already seeing a huge shift in the way people travel as more travellers are wanting to travel in a sustainable way, with this being a big decision-maker as to how they travel and which company they choose,” he said.

“All tourism companies have a huge role to play with sustaining our future.”

Going forward, Stewart said he’s excited about a number of 2019 itineraries, one Jordan trip in particular that includes a visit to a Women’s Cooperative.

“Our enhanced Jordan Experience itinerary is also one I’m hearing great things about. The trip includes a meaningful visit to the Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative, an Insight Cares and TreadRight project which is managed and run by local women,” he said.

“More than ever, it’s important to book a holiday with a company that cares.”

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