Tourism

Industry expert’s warning: We need to act fast on overtourism

Tammy Marshall

Overtourism is a buzzword at the moment, albeit a negative one.

It first came to the fore in 2017 when a group of Spanish protesters vandalised hotels and slashed rental bike tyres.

A heated anti-tourism debate started on Twitter under the hashtag #touristsgohome.

Spain –  a country that welcomed 36.4 million visitors last year – is not alone in its outrage. There are plenty of destinations where tourism has reached disruptive proportions including Paris, Dubrovnik, Kyoto, Berlin, Bali, Reykjavik.

So what do you need to know? And how can you help?  Read on for some key facts and suggested solutions.

  1. Overtourism is often seasonal

Barcelona Beach Panorama

Plenty of places experience overtourism in high or peak season, but for the remainder of the year, are absolutely fine. The challenge is to get the balance right.

Many micro tourism destinations and attractions also experiencing extreme congestion. Charles Bridge in Prague, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Duomo Cathedral in Milan, and St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City are just a few of the attractions that struggle with visitor numbers.

Solution: Avoid booking travellers during peak season and check the best times to visit attractions (ie early morning, late evening).

  1. Popularity can become a curse

Tourists in the crowded the bridge in Venice.

According to recent research, the following ‘hot’ destinations are struggling with demand:

Places: Santorini, Greece, Venice and Cinque Terre, Italy, Barcelona, Spain, Machu Picchu, Peru, Mount Everest, Nepal, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Kyoto, Japan, Reykjavik, Iceland, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Paris, France, Copenhagen, Denmark, Isle of Skye, Scotland, Koh Khai Islands, Thailand

Solution: Destinations need to start planning proactively for the future to overcome the challenges that Barcelona, Machu Picchu or the Thai Islands are experiencing now. We can learn a lot from the destinations already suffering from overtourism.

  1. Whose fault is it?

Aerial View On Old Town Square In Prague

Travel is a complex supply chain that requires collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders. Ultimately, destinations need to take more responsibility of managing the flow of visitors, including spreading visitors across the destination in order to reduce crowds in hot spots and find strategies to cope in high season.

They also need to generate sustainable demand for less touristy places.

Solution: Develop an action plan that addresses seasonality, visitor dispersal, visitor experience, infrastructure requirements, going beyond the hotspots, review access and any regulatory requirements i.e. accommodation supply.

  1. Overtourism leads to a lousy experience for everyone

tourims

No-one likes being crushed in a crowd. Overtourism creates unreasonable pressure on civic amenities like walkways, roads, public toilets and waste management services, creating a level of genuine discomfort among visitors and locals alike.

Solution: The tourism industry needs to adopt a local’s perspective and understand that destinations risk losing the very thing people came to see – old world charm, natural beauty, a relaxed lifestyle – if overtourism is allowed to continue.

  1. Can we stop it?

Crowd of people walking on street in downtown Rome, sunlight

We can’t stop tourism because it delivers more than 10 per cent of the global GDP but we can certainly prevent further overtourism, and reduce the impact in destinations already effected.

Solution: It’s about how we segment travellers and ensure we develop destination dispersal as opposed to always focusing on the hero shots that we have relied on in the past. Adding higher taxes or bumping up prices to reduce demand is not the answer as this could have a detrimental impact on the industry and the destination.

The answer lies in finding new solutions that will help facilitate a different flow for visitors and a more targeted approach that tailors experiences to customer segments, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Destinations need to incorporate overtourism into their strategic plans, plan for growth, and learn from other destinations’ mistakes.


Tammy Marshall is the founder of The B Hive – a business transformation consultancy that specialises in the Travel, Tourism, Hospitality, Leisure and Entertainment sectors. Throughout her more than 25 years’ experience in travel and tourism, she’s worked across leading brands such as TFE Hotels, Carnival Australia, P&O Cruises, AAT Kings/Inspiring Journeys, Contiki and more.

 

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Boeing: Judge orders pilots suing manufacturer over 737 MAX to reveal their names

by Christian Fleetwood

Pilots suing Boeing over lost wages have been given an ultimatum: reveal their names or withdraw the case.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Failed travel agency issued customers fake plane tickets before going under

Yet another travel agency has filed for liquidation, this time after issuing customers with fake plane tickets.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Investigation underway after flight attendant falls from parked plane

by Christian Fleetwood

A flight attendant has been seriously injured after falling out the door of a parked aircraft.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Cue the wanderlust: These are the world’s most Instagrammed forests

In an era where experiences, purpose and sustainability are driving travel, visiting the world’s forests is a great way to encourage travellers to leave no trace.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie airports on alert for deadly coronavirus as US confirms its first case

by Ali Coulton

Health authorities are working with airports to quell the risk of a pandemic of the deadly novel coronavirus.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Trivago licks its wounds after court loss, as industry bodies applaud ruling

by Huntley Mitchell

Trivago has responded to the Federal Court’s ruling that it misled consumers about hotel room rates on its website and in its TV ads. Find out what the OTA had to say here.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Lonely Planet launches its first tour range

by Ali Coulton

The iconic travel publisher has teamed up with Intrepid Travel to “bring its guide books to life”. We’re not sure if that means the tours will be led by giant talking books.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Collette’s Lexy Wildash

This week, Collette’s marketing specialist gave us tips on how to get the perfect money shot at the Trevi Fountain without getting mobbed by crowds.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: Silversea’s new grand voyage, Hurtigruten launches bushfire appeal, Crystal’s new river deployments + MORE!

Not spending your Wednesday cruising through the Mediterranean? Perusing this week’s Cruise Wrap is the next best thing. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

The easiest (and most enjoyable) way to become a Phuket expert

by Sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand

Are you an agent looking to sharpen your selling skills for Thailand’s largest island without having to read boring books or complete online training modules? Herein lies the solution.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Emirates pledges bushfire support, Qantas returns to Byron Bay + MORE!

This week’s Aviation Wrap is brought to you by Travel Weekly’s roving reporter, who has decided to wear compression socks with thongs to the office today. It’s not a good look.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin strengthens ANA codeshare agreement ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Sadly though, we won’t get to witness Sir Richard Branson ride a baggage carousel with pretend giant sushi in celebration of this news.

Share

CommentComments