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

Travel Agents

Health boss’ international travel prediction highlights need for “renamed and repurposed” JobKeeper: AFTA

Like the way that Pokémon character Jigglypuff turns into Wigglytuff, AFTA is seeking an evolution of JobKeeper.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Australia’s international border closure “one of the last things to change”, says chief medical officer

The man in charge of leading Australia’s COVID-19 response isn’t budging on his international travel forecast. At least that means the champagne has more time to chill.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Biden rushes to extend US travel restrictions after Trump signs order to lift European ban

Just in case the political climate in the US wasn’t terrifying enough, President Donald Trump has decided to lift travel restrictions for people who have recently been in Europe and Brazil.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Man jailed after hiding in US airport for three months unnoticed

Apparently, the man was scared to fly home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is an excuse our editor has used to get out of going to the dentist and jury duty.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

First steel cut for Carnival Celebration

Do you only read Travel Weekly for the steel-cutting ceremony stories? Well, you’d better fetch your reading glasses for this one.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

APT Travel Group extends international trip suspension

Just in case you need further proof that international travel isn’t coming back anytime soon, APT Travel Group has kept its finger on the pause button.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Club Med kicks off 2021 with new brochure, new resorts and loyalty program extensions

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly’s deputy editor kicked off the new year by waking up on her bathroom floor and promptly putting herself to bed for the rest of the day.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with MTA’s Debbie Andrews

This week, we got up close and personal with an MTA senior travel specialist. Well, as close as you can get to someone during a pandemic. So, really, we got 1.5 metres away and semi-personal.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean to sell Azamara brand for more than $260m

While many cruise companies are offloading some of their ships to stay afloat during the pandemic, Royal Caribbean is selling an entire brand.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

New Zealand to welcome back Cook Islanders with one-way travel ‘bubble’

Jacinda Ardern was reportedly spotted sipping a bubble tea as she carved out another travel ‘bubble’ deal with one of New Zealand’s closest neighbours.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tasmania and ACT ease border restrictions

by Huntley Mitchell

Domestic border restrictions are now officially changing more often than the underwear of Travel Weekly’s editor.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

An accommodation giant just acquired a travel publication

And before you go speculating, we can confirm the travel publication that has a new owner is not yours truly.

Share

CommentComments