Overtourism - Responsibility for Sustainable Tourism

How can the private industry, the public sector, and consumers promote sustainable tourism and reduce overtourism and its effects on the land, people and economy?

Inti Raymi festival in Cusco, Peru (June, 2015). 

The Peruvian government has taken many steps to reduce the impact of overtourism at Machu Picchu, a patrimonial heritage site and other, contemporarily popular sites in the country.  These include ticketing systems to regulate the amount of tourists that can enter Machu Picchu per day, separated by time frames (morning, afternoon).

Recently, there was an article published by Skift.com discussing overtaxing popular destinations in order to promote sustainability.   There are many logistic issues when it comes to taxing tourists indirectly– from creating a sense of deterrence to the concept of efficient public financing (that is, to make sure that those tax dollars are being allocated to promote sustainability within the industry, protecting major sites and businesses, etc.).

Destinations do not want to simply tell tourists not to come. This is bad for business and affects the local and national economy.   But increased technology and globalization has permitted that travelers from any part of the planet can now reach what used to seem as very remote destinations. With the industry rising, increased access, the augmentation of the global middle class, and the world population rising in general, destinations will have to

But perhaps the private sector has the biggest role in all of this, as touched upon in the Skift article.

This concept is interesting because it draws upon one of Abord’s main missions: to help users find unique, local experiences while traveling. We want to promote inspiration through connecting with other travelers and more importantly, by connecting with local businesses that offer unique experiences. Our business partners in the popular destinations understand this, and will offer the best products/services for our user base. We are expanding our business partner reach to lesser traveled areas as well, meaning we can work together with local business in these regions to prepare for influxes of travelers based on travel industry trends and the “hot” destinations.

Will public policy within popular destinations deter tourists through overtaxing what used to be more affordable destinations? The answer is difficult to find since we are just now experiencing a new influx of travelers with different demands. Yet with every technological change in the past, the travel industry has come together to manage growth. We enter the dawn of sustainable tourism in all markets, not just fragile ecosystems.

It will indeed be up to all three important stakeholders: the private industry, the public industry, and the consumer to promote sustainable tourism that works for everyone and can be replicated in new markets

Tyler Reveille

Cofounder of Abord

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References:

Change, H. (2019). In danger of being overrun, some places are trying to manage tourism. Here's how. [online] Los Angeles Times. Available at: https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2019-08-09/overtourism-hawaii-italy-amsterdam [Accessed 12 Aug. 2019].

Spinks, R. (2019). The Paradox of Taxing Travelers for Overtourism. [online] Skift. Available at: https://skift.com/2019/08/05/the-paradox-of-taxing-travelers-for-overtourism/ [Accessed 11 Aug. 2019].