Let’s start by defining over-tourism to ensure we’re both on the same page.
Simply put, over-tourism is when too many travelers overcrowd or content in a specific tourist attraction and diminish the quality of life for the locals while at the same time having a negative impact on the environment.
Note though, the number is subjective, so when we say ‘too many’, we aren’t really alluding to a specific figure. That said, the number can be better defined in each destination by its hosts, local residents, and business owners.
One of the main disadvantages of over-tourism is the fact it can cause rental costs to increase, to a level local people can no longer bear to live there. This causes a breakdown in that community and can lead to local people shifting from that place and leaving it as a tourist center.
Over tourism also places a strain on the environment as contamination becomes very high due to additional cars and flights within the region. Waterways get contaminated from flooding and trash.
Some causes of over-tourism include:
- Increase in low-cost tickets whether it’s by road or air hence giving tourists with lower spending capacity chance to organize holidays.
- The widespread use of the internet has made traveling much easier hence causing overpopulation in certain places.
- Tax-free fuels – some governments pay airlines to land in their regions to attract more tourists.
- Holiday books, flights, and connections have become easier and much cheaper hence causing over-tourism.
- Limited popular destinations and a lot of national holidays.
So, here are some ways you can avoid contributing to over-tourism:
Firstly, you can visit the place of your choice during off-peak periods. Instead of traveling during the known holidays, choose a different season so that you will visit your destination when it’s least packed. This will be more enjoyable for you, puts less pressure on things like transport, saves you a bit of money, and is less stressful for the locals too.
Secondly, you can explore different places in that particular country. Choose another city instead of staying in a popular hotspot for the rest of your trip. By doing that, you are protecting the environment. You can consider local tourism as well. Instead of choosing already booked countries and places, consider local tourism in your own country or state
Thirdly, you should become responsible and eco friendly. Take time to minimize the waste you produce and encourage other tourists. These efforts will help in easing the pressure on the environment. Some of the tricks you can employ include reusing items like bottles and bags.
Fourthly, you should adopt a wise travel mindset. You may want to consider spending much time with the locals and forget for a moment about you being a tourist and blend in with the community
You should also travel in small numbers. Take one or two friends or family members with you at a time so that you will be eagerly welcomed as among the few tourists who arrived. When you travel in small groups, that not only helps avoid over-tourism but also gives you a greater connection with the local people thus ensuring a great holiday experience.
What’s more? Spend your money on local activities. Pay national park entrance fees to support conservation, eat from local restaurants, stay in locally owned hotels, and take a tour with the local guides. Tourism can still be very much a force for good, and ensuring that residents, habitats, and wildlife benefit from your presence are an important part of that.
That’s not all. As a tourist, you can ensure your behavior benefits the locals. As the government and local authorities look for ways to control the number of tourists by increasing travel prices, banning big cheap cruises, and issuing permits to various attraction sites, you can take new schedules and guided visits to less-visited territories.
You can also implement the use of big data while organizing your trips to understand if supply and demand correspond. This allows you to play your part in avoiding tourists’ overpopulation in one place while also avoiding unpleasant queues. You can set restrictions and charges to already populated areas so that no visitors should dare go there.