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Overtourism: What Is It Good For

With winter in full swing, summer vacation planning is too. It is important to do research to be certain that we are not only ready to welcome visitors and fulfill their expectations, but that our chosen destinations are prepared to welcome us as well. So what is this buzzword “overtourism” all about?

While overtourism can look different from destination to destination, it carries similar concerns. According to Responsible Tourism Partnership, overtourism describes destinations where hosts or guests, locals or visitors, feel there are too many visitors and that the quality of life in the area, or the quality of the experience, has deteriorated unacceptably.

The tourism industry, like most industries, needs growth. But after decades of potentially uncontrolled growth, problems can arise. From the Airbnb boom making travel more accessible, to a lack of infrastructure to support overcrowding of historical sites, destinations and tourists alike need to seek new ways for tourism to be more responsible and sustainable.

Some experts argue that Instagram and social media influencers are contributing factors to overtourism. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a great example of this. Ranked one of the most “Instagrammable” countries in the world, Iceland’s tourist population increased more than six times its national population in 2017 and continues to grow.

It’s important to understand the difference between tourism driving local economics and overtourism taking a toll on communities more than they are benefiting. With the global travel boom that destinations are experiencing, destinations with great landscapes, curated experiences, or a large social media presence must be prepared for continued masses of tourists.

Quick Tips to Avoid Contributing to Overtourism:

  • Visit destinations in the off-season.
  • Choose a destination that isn’t posted all over Instagram.
  • Take the road less travelled.
  • Support the local businesses.

Venice, Italy is an example of a city experiencing overtourism.