Industry Buzzwords - Overtourism

Travel Trends

January 15, 2019

Overtourism continues to be one of the key buzzwords to look out for in 2019. So what does it really mean? And how can you best position your business to thrive alongside it?

What is Overtourism?

In essence overtourism occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination. What this means in practice can vary broadly, however the easiest way to think about it is when too many people flock to a popular destination, resulting in a poorer experience for both visitors and residents. Think overcrowded streets, rising accommodation costs, damage to wildlife or the environment and landmarks etc.

A number of cities and sights have responded by imposing tourist caps; literally limiting the number of visitors to a destination via visitor taxes / fees / quotas, or restricting certain elements of tourism (such as Airbnb rentals or new hotel developments). However, with international tourist arrivals hitting 1.4 billion in 2018, 2 years ahead of previous UNWTO forecasts, the issue of overtourism doesn’t appear to be disappearing any time soon.

So as a local business owner, what can you do to ensure the best possible experience for your guests? Whilst proactively protecting the quality of life for both yourself and local residents?

Tab’s top tips for Overtourism

1. Encourage exploration!

Whilst a number of the most impacted destinations are unique and world famous sites with no substitute, there are also often a number of lesser known “little brother” spots. As the local expert, don’t be afraid to recommend these untapped gems. Instead of Machu Picchu, go to Choquequirao; or perhaps Prasat Preah Vinear over Angkor Wat. Educating visitors on awesome but underrated havens can help your customers discover exciting places off the beaten path, and they'll no doubt be grateful for the special attention and local knowledge!

2. Promote off-season travel

With the increasing popularity of low-cost airlines and more affordable travel; alongside improving ease of access to both renowned and previously unheard of destinations - the ability to travel all-year round is now a thing of the present! By offering and tailoring more off-season itineraries, customers can enjoy more choice for Autumn, Winter and Spring trips, helping to tackle overtourism head on by staggering travel across the year. Highlight on your site the months when weather may be at its best, or perhaps you're lucky enough to enjoy sun all year round. Handle reservations easily with Tab's Advance Bookings feature and help your visitors to enjoy wonders of the world - without the crowds!

3. Adopt a sustainable travel mindset

With more than two thirds of travellers willing to pay a bit more to make their travel as environmentally sustainable as possible (see our previous blog post on Sustainability), reap the rewards firsthand of adopting and promoting more sustainable tourism practices. From sourcing locally where possible to paying attention to your environmental footprint, small changes can have profound impacts and help create authentic and unforgettable experiences for the most conscientious of customers.