Tourism

Will implementing travel limits curb overtourism?

Daisy Doctor

The topic of overtourism has received its fair share of airtime this year.

From Intrepid’s Co-Founder voicing his concerns to Dubrovnik culling cruise ships and Amsterdam banning new hotels souvenier shops, the issue has definitely taken its toll on the industry.

But we’ve reached the end of the year now, so rather than haranguing on about the damage overtourism is doing, let’s focus on the future, and the changes we could make to help locals and travellers alike.

Thankfully, that is exactly what a recent report from World Travel and Tourism Council in partnership with McKinsey is attempting to do.

Titled ‘Coping with Success: Managing Overcrowding in Tourist Destinations‘, one of the biggest takeaways from the report is its proposition of establishing travel limits.

Filtering tourist numbers, or as the report calls it, ‘Smoothing visitors over time’, could be our best bet for easing the tense situation.

According to the report, “Many destinations suffer from imbalanced influxes of visitors from one season, day of the week, or time of day to another”.

“It is particularly important for destinations facing a degraded tourist experience, overloaded infrastructure, threats to nature, or threats to culture and heritage to develop tactics to “smooth” these imbalances,” it adds.

It details the multitude of ways destinations are already establishing limits or ‘daily caps’ to help curb numbers.

See also: 5 industry solutions to overtourism

“While in some instances it makes sense simply to limit the number of visitors, for example, through a daily cap, we increasingly also see destinations establishing reservations and ticketing systems, using real-time data to nudge visitor behavior, and changing promotion strategies.”

For the Tourism Council and World Travel, the key is establishing ‘arrival limits’.

“Restricting tourism is a tricky business, and it is likely to provoke opposition from those who may lose income—or fail to see growth—as a result.”

“Perhaps surprisingly, many of the private-sector leaders who spoke with us agreed that some destinations are hitting their limits.”

“What they want is to operate within clear, consistently enforced regulations. Several destinations have implemented arrival limits and quotas to protect their natural and cultural assets,” it adds.

It uses the Galápagos Islands as a good example of how implementing tougher limits on travellers can be instrumental.

“Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands, a veritable time capsule of plant and animal species and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were placed on UNESCO’s “in danger” list in 2007.”

“The number of visitors to the islands had grown from 40,000 in 1990 to more than 145,000 in 2006, and the resident population had doubled in approximately the same period.

“Among other initiatives, the Ecuadorian government established regulations over the arrival and movement of visitors around the islands.

“In 2012, the government established a visit limit of 15 days and 14 nights per cruise ship, during which the ship may not visit the same site twice (with the exception of the Charles Darwin Research Station).”

The report then casts its eyes towards Dubrovnik, a city which is making a lot of noise in the overtourism space.

“Dubrovnik, Croatia, has also seen massive growth in tourist arrivals. In 2016 alone, the city’s walled old town, which is home to just over 1,000 people, welcomed 800,000 cruise-ship passengers.

“The city’s World Heritage Site status is at risk as a result, and the local community is restive.”

In August of this year, Dubrovnik decided to drastically cut the number of visitors allowed into its historical town centre, as well as looking at stripping back cruise allowances to help lighten the load.

The Croatian city announced it would ignore UNESCO’s recommendation to the number of entrants inside the medieval walls, choosing to halve it instead, as highlighted by the report.

“UNESCO has recommended that Dubrovnik allow a maximum of 8,000 visitors at a time—and the mayor has pledged to cut that maximum in half, to 4,000.”

“Enforcement mechanisms, which currently include visitor tracking via surveillance video cameras, will expand in 2018 to limits on cruise ship arrivals during peak times and day-trip facilitation by tour operators.”

Cruis ships were, and remain to be, a particularly common source of concern for port cities such as Dubrovnik, as detailed by the report.

“In 2014, public protests over cruise ships in Venice’s Giudecca Canal led to restrictions on the size and number of such ships,” it said.

“Although these restrictions were overturned, the cruise lines have taken voluntary actions; the Venice Port Authority is expecting 11.4 percent fewer passengers in 2017 than in 2016.”

“The city government, tourism operators, and residents are still seeking a long-term approach that balances the contributions of cruise ships with their drawbacks.”


Do you have something to say on this issue? Get in touch with Travel Weekly Editor Daisy Doctor here to share your thoughts.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

2 responses to “Will implementing travel limits curb overtourism?”

  1. RE: Galapagos – the government of Ecuador has NOT imposed limits on tourist arrivals. We are up to 220,000 / year these days. Ship based tourism has been capped for 20 years by keeping a lid on new ship capacity – but land based tourism has taken off, from next to nothing in the late 1990’s to 150,000 / year today, with no end to growth in sight.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Travel Agents

What every travel agent can learn from actor Samuel Johnson

by Huntley Mitchell

Actor and charity founder Samuel Johnson had plenty of takeaways for travel agents at a recent conference, which you take away here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Passenger plane carrying 233 makes emergency landing in cornfield

The pilots that pulled off this heroic landing are receiving more praise than our intern when he restocks the office Tim Tam supply, and that’s saying something.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

REVEALED: All the winners from Virtuoso’s 2019 Best of the Best awards

Congratulations to all the exceptional travel companies (including a you-beaut Australian resort) that took home shiny gongs at Virtuoso’s Best of the Best awards!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Contiki Australia announce new boss, TTNQ appoints CEO + MORE!

What better way to contemplate throwing in your resignation for greener pastures than by reading this week’s sure-to-make-you-jealous roundup of top-notch industry appointments?

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Twitter melts over hot pilot after passenger “kind of” gets plane to himself

Twitter has some strong opinions about a viral video of a passenger getting a “private jet” experience. Not because the plane was empty, or because the airline said he didn’t fly on it, but because of a split-second encounter with a dreamy pilot.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie influencer detained in Bali, forced to pay $40,000 over prescription medication

Between helping influencers avoid jail time and sorting out the guy who fly-kicked a scooter, DFAT has no doubt become well acquainted with Balinese police this week.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Australian entrepreneur dead after falling overboard from cruise ship

by Huntley Mitchell

In tragic news, an Australian man has died after falling overboard on a cruise ship bound for the US Virgin Islands.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent wrap: italktravel & cruise at home launches, TTC hosts Eden Ministry, win big with Brand USA + MORE

What’s better than reading about agents on cool famils and winning free stuff? Finally reaching Friday!

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

WIN a gift hamper from the The Goods Tube: Just another reason to attend Travel DAZE

As if learning gems of knowledge and practical tips from the best in this business wasn’t enough, we have a few more tricks up our sleeve for Travel DAZE 2019.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

ATTN: Two weeks left to enter The Travel Awards 2019!

If you’re still planing on entering The Travel Awards 2019 but are yet to complete your submission, the time to get your s***t together is now!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Qantas, Webjet & Flight Centre among travel companies hardest hit by ASX fall

by Christian Fleetwood

Australian travel companies were among those on the receiving end of a drop in share prices at the opening of the ASX200 this morning.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel wrap: Hilton’s big Canberra plan, Upgradus launches in Australia, New Bali beach club + MORE!

This week’s hotel wrap is so huge that it’s left Travel Weekly’s reporter with RSI in his fingers, palms and wrists.

Share

CommentComments