ITB Berlin News – Day 3 Edition

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Overtourism… What is the solution?

A study by Norstat tabled at ITB Berlin this year for Travelzoo and ITB indicates that 69% of people questioned believe that protecting the environment is the most critical issue of our time. The survey on overtourism was a collection and analysis of data from 8,000 people in eight countries.

Overtourism is increasingly dampening the destination experience of international tourists. However, the specific tourist groups who perceive overtourism particularly negatively, the avoidance strategies they apply and the destination measures they might accept are all largely unexplored. This latest study sheds light on the darkness for the first time and provides destination managers with important decision-making aids in dealing with one of the biggest challenges in international tourism – both today and in the future.

Asked to identify the phenomena they associate with mass tourism, respondents mentioned environmental destruction (52%), overcrowded beaches (48%), too many other tourists (41%) and negative repercussions for people living locally (37%).

The survey found that a significant percentage of respondents were willing to take steps to improve the situation: they would pay more money for fewer tourists in a destination, they’d change their dates of travel and commit to shopping and eating “local” if they knew it would help.

The Travelzoo survey is the latest and perhaps most pertinent “beacon” aiming to lead the industry in the right direction. Already last year when announcing data from IPK, Rolf Freitag, the organisation’s President, stated, “Overtourism is clearly not good for nature, culture, locals and tourists alike. However, global tourism has not reached its limits. Many destinations would be happy to see more visitors, either throughout the year or in the low season. So tourism does not have a growth problem but rather a regional and seasonal problem!”

It is clear that tourism must be a force for good, in all senses, and that in many places, while this is a challenge, it is not insurmountable. ITB Berlin is shining the light on just which direction should be taken for a brighter future for the industry.

Richard Barnes
Editor-in-Chief, ITB Berlin News