July 11, 2018

Overtourism: whose fault is it?

Over the past 12 months, the media and travel industry have awoken to the strains that too many tourists can place upon a single destination. Why has it taken so long?

Having acknowledged the issue earlier than most, British travel company Responsible Travel has come up with a list of offenders that includes the expected as well as the unexpected.

Those belonging to the former camp include: airlines, which have transformed countless holiday hotspots into honeypots by offering affordable flights without a thought to the environmental costs involved; cruise lines, which have been accused of not only polluting the atmosphere but also giving little – financially or otherwise – to the ports at which they call; tourist boards, which for too long have been concerned with volume over value; and, of course, travellers themselves.

Among the more unusual suspects, however, is the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, nominated for having stated that, “Tourism is not the enemy. Growth is not the enemy, numbers are not the enemy. It’s how we manage growth that matters,” in response to anti-tourism protests in Barcelona, Spain, last year. Arguably, in the case of overtourism, both tourism and growth are the enemy, something that a leading global institution would do well to admit.

Get the full story at the South China Morning Post