Over-Tourism Causing Trouble: Wish You Had Stayed Away

Over-Tourism Causing Trouble: Wish You Had Stayed Away  Over-Tourism Causing Trouble: Wish You Had Stayed Away

More travelers are crowding into fewer destinations, putting stress on infrastructure and causing headaches for residents.

Mass tourism has tipped into over-tourism—a word the travel industry has coined to describe too many people in too few places—and the backlash in popular destinations is building.

As flight prices come down and prosperity rises around the world, tourism becomes more accessible to more people while the number of beloved destinations mostly remains the same, reported.

The rapid growth of the global middle class is a clear driver in over-tourism. Recent data from the Brookings Institution suggests that the global middle class, estimated at 3.2 billion in 2016, may be considerably larger than previously believed, perhaps now at 3.7 billion, with 160 million more people to join that cohort every year for the next five years. With middle-class money comes a taste for travel.

Terrorism and turmoil in many perennial tourist destinations such as Turkey and Indonesia have narrowed the choices for travelers in the past year. The backlash from over-tourism threatens to limit growth along the entire food chain—from hotels and restaurants to airplane manufacturers—as the crowds in popular destinations not only make life miserable for residents but also spoil the tourism experience.

“More customers have rated their trip worse this year than before,” said Georg Hesse, the head of the rating and booking portal Holidaycheck. Complaints included overloaded staff and crowds at attractions.

The travel industry blames sharing economy websites such as Airbnb and Homeaway, which enable owners to rent out spare rooms or vacation homes in competition with hotels.

Among other complaints, the industry faults these private rentals for not collecting local tourism taxes.

But McKinsey consultant Alex Dichter said travel operators like TUI and Thomas Cook are also at fault.

“Lack of planning is the most important reason why over-tourism is now becoming a problem,” he said.

Hesse said these agencies could use their direct connection to customers to steer them to less crowded destinations.

They could suggest going to Greece instead of Spain, for instance, or to enjoy the canals in Colmar, France, instead of Venice. Tourism ministers from 60 countries and leaders from private sector companies and associations will attend the Ministers' Summit organized by the UN World Tourism Organization and the World Travel Market in London to discuss the challenges of sustainable tourism.

The 11th edition of the UNWTO/WTM Ministers' Summit to be held on 7 November under the title "Over-Tourism: Growth is not the enemy; it is how we manage it", will address issues such as congestion management, the measurement of the impacts of tourism or the role of private sector in promoting tourism as an effective tool to achieve the sustainable development goals.


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