Global Wellness Summit reports that the fight against overtourism is moving from words to action
Global Wellness Summit reports the trend that experiments ranging from banning short-term rentals to banning cruise ships to charging a fee to enter a place to market only to “mindful travelers.” Intensify.
In their 2021 trend ‘The Year of the Travel Reset’ New York Times author and columnist Elaine Glusac predicted that this long travel break caused by the pandemic would give everyone – consumers and travel suppliers – a rare and crucial opportunity. to think about ways in which travel could be “restarted for the better”. And that meant a new focus on tackling overtourism in the places most frequented by travelers in the world, and also a much greater awareness of how all communities benefit (or not) from tourism.
Surtourism (a term coined by travel media platform Skift in 2016) was a buzzword before the pandemic, but the travel hiatus has allowed time for the “talk” on overtourism to take hold. turns into action, as governments and destinations around the world unfold. new, diverse and creative plans to tackle overtourism before the trip comes back for good.
The mantra of destinations is now to refocus their tourism plans on quality and not quantity, using new strategies to attract ‘high quality’ travelers who will spend more time and want a closer connection with the place, local residents and the economy.
Strategies to combat overtourism take several forms:
Destinations such as Amsterdam have all but ceased to market the city to tourists, shifting from “destination promotion” to “destination management” to refocus on the well-being of local residents.
More and more countries are creating tangible development plans that redirect people to new under-toured destinations, such as new tourism dispersal plans from Aruba and Greece. Jordan has created a “meaningful travel map” that identifies twelve experiences across the country that disperse travelers from overcrowded and fragile sites and that are designed to have the greatest impact on the community. The success is such that Colombia adapts a similar map.
More and more cities are looking for short-term rentals such as Airbnb: Barcelona are planning to make any rentals less than a month illegal and Lisbon is pushing owners who only take long-term rentals.
More and more cities are banning environmentally destructive cruise ships that drop hordes of less spending tourists. Last August, Venice banned all major cruise ships from entering its lagoon (and 700 ships did so each year before the pandemic).
The Global Wellness Summit underlines that Venice is a city where overtourism has decimated the social fabric, infrastructure and the local population. With 30 million visitors per year, or 590 tourists per capita, they were losing 1,000 inhabitants per year, fleeing high prices and an undiversified economy. From the end of 2022, they will institute controversial measures: issuing tickets to enter, charging a daily fee for tourists to enter (between US $ 3.50 and US $ 12, but if you are staying in a hotel, deleted) and install electronic turnstiles at the main city access points that lock when the traffic jam is reached.
The new plans launched are ambitious in an unprecedented way. Panama has just announced that it will spend $ 300 million on a tourism master plan that places local communities and the environment at the very center of future tourism growth – from turning 10 indigenous Afro-Panamanian communities into destinations tourism to a marketing campaign entirely focused on attracting the “conscious traveler” (or “conscious viajero”), because they want to bring in “the right people with the right values”. New Zealand has recently launched a Tourism Futures Taskforce which will come up with many creative initiatives to ensure that tourism is regenerative: “it will contribute more than it consumes”.
Experts commenting on anti-overtourism measures such as entry fees to cities or countries giving preference to access to high-spending long-stay tourists mean new barriers to travel for people who are not. not as rich. More and more difficult questions will be asked, such as: is travel a right or is it always really a privilege? Not only does this trip cost money, but can we really continue to fail to protect local communities from people who disrespect the place? There will have to be tackled complex issues, such as how to keep travel affordable and democratic while reducing the out-of-control numbers?
But there is also no doubt that destinations are now stepping up plans to tackle overtourism because no one wants to waste this moment; no one wants to go back to where they were in 2019. Experiments to balance a healthy tourism economy with a healthy local community and environment will only intensify.
This is a follow-up to the ‘Year of Travel Reset’ trend in the Global Well-Being Trends Report 2021.
Image of Maya Bay in Thailand closed to tourists in 2018 due to environmental concerns.
May 6, 2021 – New Zealand Tourism Minister announces industry transformation plan to move holiday areas away from overtourism
December 18, 2019 – Report suggests overtourism will impact New Zealand landscape
June 21, 2019 – Fearing a ‘construction tsunami’ of visitors, Noosa council examines overtourism solutions
June 5, 2019 – Byron Bay named one of the world’s worst places for overtourism
March 17, 2019 – The rise of wellness holidays, an antidote to overtourism
February 2, 2019 – Launch of the World Tourism Association to fight overtourism
21 November 2018 – New UNWTO report helps cities manage the impacts of ‘overtourism’
October 3, 2018 – Surplus tourism leads to indefinite closure of iconic Thai bay
May 27, 2021 – Global Wellness Institute predicts more sophisticated medical wellness destinations
May 6, 2021 – Global Wellness Institute shines a light on the rise of nature’s economy
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