Continuing on with our theme:
The good news, if long overdue, is that tourism media now brim with opinions on how to deal with overtourism.
* Tourism consultant Xavier Font and journalist Elizabeth Becker have articles on the problem in the Guardian.
* Former Nat Geo Traveler editor Norie Quintos has recommendations on crowd-dodging for adventure-travel tour operators.
* Tourism news service Skift has offered its own 5 solutions. Skiff Solutions
* Responsible Travel’s Justin Francis argues that megacruise ships and budget airlines exacerbate the problem, supported by governments that refuse to impose carbon taxes.
* Our own Destination Stewardship Center has several blog posts on the topic, including one by Salli Felton of the Travel Foundation.
* The Independent reports on Amsterdam’s plan for using technology to spread out the crowds.
* WTTC promises to issue a report about overtourism later this year. Commentator Anna Pollock has posted her doubts in a Linkedin essay that urges optimizing tourism, not maximizing it.
Pollock is on to something. Most of those overtourism recommendations merely mitigate the problem. The population explosion has already happened. The term “overtourism” may lose its cachet from overuse, but the problem is here for generations. It cannot be solved until world leaders face a simple geometric reality:
It is impossible to pack infinitely growing
numbers of tourists into finite spaces.
So what to do? A world of more than 7 billion people requires rethinking tourism, namely:
1. Change the prevailing paradigm: More tourism is not necessarily better. Better tourism is better.
2. Governments and industry should therefore abolish the practice of setting tourism goals based only on arrivals.
3. Instead, incentivize longer stays and discourage hit-and-run, selfie-stick tourism.
4. To help do that, destination stakeholders should form stewardship councils that help government and industry plan according to limits of acceptable change.