New Research: How is Overtourism Impacting the Travel Industry?

New Research: How is Overtourism Impacting the Travel Industry?

In the last decade, travel has become more popular than ever before. People in all age groups and across all demographics are setting their sights on new destinations, and they are booking cruises, vacation packages and flights in order to accomplish their goals. This should be great news for the travel industry, right? Well, it is, but overtourism is actually becoming challenging for many destinations to manage.

What is Overtourism?

Overtourism is a condition in which a destination is being visited by too many travelers at a given time. For example, the Greek Isle of Santorini recently had to cap its daily visitors at 8,000, according to a report in Travel Weekly. This magnificent Greek Isle with its famous blue dome church has become one of the most popular ports on Mediterranean cruises, and the isle was simply being inundated with quick-hitting tourists on a daily basis. While the locals thrive on the travel and tourism industry, it was actually becoming too much.

How is Overtourism Impacting the Travel Industry?

  • It highlights the emerging trend of experiential travel. Across the globe, people are placing a higher value on experiences rather than things. This is particularly true in the young and powerful Millennial generation, which is increasingly spending disposable income on travel versus big cars and fancy houses. As more people crave new experiences, the most popular destinations are becoming overcrowded and even some of the remote destinations are being overwhelmed with visitors.
  • It emphasizes the need for tour and activity operators to use data to predict and change travelers’ behaviors. As overtourism is considered by travel industry leaders and experts, it’s up to individual tour and activity operators to begin collecting and analyzing consumer data to identify trends in travelers’ behaviors. This valuable data can be used to create new products or to market alternative destinations to help minimize the overcrowding that is happening in many of the biggest cities and most popular travel destinations around the world. It is important that the data is used to responsibly shift trends in consumer behavior and help alleviate the issues that surround overtourism.
  • It stresses the importance of developing long-term sustainability initiatives in the industry. As more people set out to explore lesser-known destinations, the need for responsible travel from both tour operators and non-locals increases. It’s critical that travelers as well as industry insiders work to preserve the local culture, flavor and atmosphere despite the fact that there are new tourists arriving daily that have a huge impact on the economy. Offering smaller, more intimate adventures not only helps minimize the onslaught of an excessive number of tourists, but it also does not put as big of a strain on local resources. All tour and activity companies should be working to make their products as sustainable as possible, as this benefits their customers as well as the destination that surrounds them.

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