Overtourism: 3 Easy Ways to Quickly Avoid it
“Will we be able to see that place before it’s too late?”
This is what many travelers have to think and ask concerning natural and cultural sites around the world which are threatened by a growing tide of tourists and buildings.
how overtourism began
When we are young we hear about famous places and destinations, full of wonder, architecture, landscapes and magic. The following years we cultivate these dreams through imagination, media, stories and photos taken by others.
We dream, we grow, we save our money and one day we can finally visit these places, but we discover that we are not the only ones: everyone else is visiting them at the same time.
This is where the concept of “overtourism” was born, an overwhelming tourism that is rapidly becoming a crucial point of discussion.
With cheaper fares and movies and social media power to focus attention on specific destinations, more and more travelers are choosing locations that are no longer able to sustain their popularity.
overtourism between numbers and words
Studies on tourism data confirm these concerns.
According to Federturismo reports, the tourism industry is exponentially growing and brings with it enormous social, economic and cultural implications.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) had forecast growth of up to 1.3 billion travelers in 2020; forecasts for 2030 show a share of international tourist arrivals that will exceed the 1.8 billion threshold (+ 80% compared to the previous decade).
It is exactly because of these high numbers that we talk about Overtourism, or mass tourism.
“Overtourism is the negative impact that tourism, within a destination or part of it, has on the perceived quality of life of residents and / or on the visitor’s experience”. – UNWTO
“Overtourism is the situation in which the impact of tourism, at a certain time and in a certain location, exceeds the threshold of physical, ecological, social, economic, psychological and / or political capacity”. – Transport Commission and the tourism of the European Parliament
“Overtourism: an excessive number of visitors heading to famous places, damaging the environment and having a harmful impact on the lives of the residents“. – CNN travel
Very clear I would say.
In fact, mass tourism affects not only the daily life of the local inhabitants, and the biodiversity present on site, but also the experience of the visitors themselves who find themselves sharing limited resources with more people than necessary, first of all the space.
Overtourism VS Sustainable tourism
Which factors have increased the mass tourism development and still hinder the growth of sustainable and conscious tourism?
I’ll share some of them with you.
First of all, the importance attributed to economic interests over social and environmental ones, unfortunately a recurring theme nowadays that does not only concern the tourism sector.
The second factor is the continuous and disrespectful availability of some resources for everyone. In this way these resources are running out with huge consequences. Imagine being forced to be caressed by thousands of different people every day, throughout the whole year. Or having to bear the weight of all the tourists who visit a certain archaeological site every day.
Another phenomenon that is increasing overtourism is the poor management of tourist flows: too many local administrations base their choices on the protection of economic interests while neglecting those of local communities, both human and animal.
Finally, there is an excessive professional fragmentation, which has contributed to the adoption of counterproductive choices regarding the proper promotion of tourist destinations.
Do tourists kill the places they visit?
If things continue in this direction, the answer will likely be yes.
Fortunately, I think there is always a solution. In this case it is to get involved and choose to be responsible tourists.
Do you think it is too optimistic?
Travelers, like you and me, are the main component of the tourism industry: this is why I believe that with our choices we are able to lead the tourism world towards a new frontier, differentiated, varied and respectful of the environment.
3 Easy ways to Avoid Overtourism
To achieve real results, it is essential that each of us does his part. Nobody excluded.
For this to be possible, skills and superpowers are not needed, the only right mindset is enough.
You can start from these 3 best practices that together create the mindset of the responsible tourist.
1. Don't follow the others
Don’t be afraid to be different. Fear of judgment is an uncomfortable component that influences our choices. But each of us, each traveler is unique and it is vital that he/she celebrates and believes in his/her uniqueness.
What does this mean?
Visit unknown locations, places that no one or a few talk about, show realities yet to be discovered. The planet is full of wonders to experience.
2. follow your instinct
Instead of listening to advertisements, listen to yourself.
If you’re not yet an expert traveler or if you do not know anything at all about you’re destination, talk to the locals if you have the opportunity to do so, read, do not get trapped in classic tourist entertainment or fear to make a bad impression.
The relationships that are created while traveling are among the most genuine and precious.
3. Leave the path
Many times we rely on maps and directions to bounce from one destination to another, without ever taking the opportunity to enjoy the moment we are living and flow with it.
Have you ever tried to walk without a specific destination?
Magic places are often discovered in this way. A minimum of forethought is always a good companion, of course, but without exaggerating: off-the-beaten-path roads often hide the most beautiful surprises.
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Writing is what connects me to people, love for nature is the filter with which I live and capture my experiences; I long for learning new things, observing and smiling to the world, sharing my experiences with those who have the same passions.
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