‘Overtourism’ has become a common term in travel publications and industry debates in recent years. Why is this bad and how can we prevent it?
Despite the well-known fact that tourism can have a positive impact on a small area, excessive crowds can have serious consequences. It’s no secret that overtourism is becoming a major problem, with cruise ships crowding small ports and local businesses being overlooked in favor of big-box stores. As a result, it is more important than ever for each of us to plan our travel so that it benefits the local economy.
When done correctly, guided travel can actually help preserve the places we’ve come to know and love. Avoid the usual tourist traps and discover something new.
In addition to ticking off the big-ticket items on our to-do lists, discovering a little-known cafe or local hangout can quickly become a highlight of your trip, while also serving as an unintentional way to give back to the area.
We pride ourselves on encouraging our guests to discover the iconic as well as get to know a place by exploring villages, going beyond what’s expected, and connecting with communities,” says Trafalgar CEO Gavin Tollman.
“Traveling is all about discovering new routes and exploring new places. When we create new and exciting experiences for our guests, we not only promote lesser-known areas for them to visit, but we ensure they get the full benefit of experiencing the beautiful places we visit, year-round. ”
Show your support for the people and businesses in your neighborhood by purchasing from them. Choosing to participate in more local activities is a great way to get to know a place’s culture and history while also helping to preserve those experiences for future generations to enjoy.
The 1921 Laboratorio Giudita in Perugia, Italy, is where Trafalgar guests can learn traditional Umbrian weaving techniques from Marta, the only person in the world still using Jacquard wooden looms to create wool and silk pieces.
Visitors to the Tanners’ cotton plantation in Mississippi, USA, are shown around and given information about the history of the estate and the rich history of Mississippi’s cotton plantations by the Tanners’ hosts.
There must be a genuine partnership with the people of the destination when taking action there; this must be done to ensure that their homes are better for them to work with them. So that the natural beauty, cultures, and traditions of the people and places that we visit are preserved, we ensure that our focus is on preserving the power of travel to truly change lives, both for travelers and the people in the places that they visit,” says Gavin.
Take advantage of the off-season to travel. “It is imperative that we spread our passengers out over the course of the year in order to avoid a bottleneck.”
After the ice cream stands have been taken down, it’s easy to forget that Venice and Dubrovnik are still the homes of many residents. Traveling during the off-season can help sustain the livelihoods of many struggling locals, despite the fact that tourists bring a booming economy during peak season.
If you want a business to last, you have to keep it going outside of peak season. We can help local businesses in places like Dubrovnik, Venice, Barcelona, and elsewhere by managing seasonal tourism, which relieves some of these pressures. Gavin argues that the bottleneck approach must be broken by sprinkling travelers throughout the year.
Make a positive difference in preserving the area. In order to avoid the negative effects of overtourism, it is essential to preserve the natural beauty, cultures, and traditions of the people and places we visit. We all have a role to play in promoting sustainable tourism, from reducing our carbon footprints when flying to opting out of printed travel documents.
Sustainable practices were demonstrated in Ireland last year by the National Trust, an independent charity that Trafalgar actively supports. Because of an increasing number of visitors, the UNESCO-designated Giants Causeway had been having difficulty keeping up until 2012. Rebuilding their visitor center with locally and sustainably sourced materials allowed them to accept the opportunity to welcome more visitors while minimizing their impact on the environment, they concluded.
It was a record-breaking year for any Northern Ireland tourist attraction when one million people visited Giants Causeway in 2017. People wandering around aimlessly without regard for what they see at the new facility demonstrated the importance of enabling and preserving rather than eradicating. By participating in this commendable effort, Trafalgar is pleased, says Gavin.