Helen Dugdale

Why Overtourism is Your Problem

© Mass Tourism

What is Overtourism?

What was once just a travel industry jargon has grown into a full-on movement of its own over the last few years. The term means the overcrowding and over-use of popular tourist locations – whether it be a city or a remote destination which cause the character of the place to change.

In its basic form, a holiday or trip sees the tourist or traveller taking their holiday in other people’s homes and the places they live. The fact that we’re all heading to the same places at the same time has seriously taken its toll on the planet.

The effect of overtourism is well documented in cities such as Barcelona and Venice where residents find it difficult to do simple everyday things such as cross the street or travel on public transport, due to the hordes of tourist. With so many properties being snapped up as short term holiday rentals residents are finding it hard to find long rental properties to allow them to stay in the places, they have lived for some, all their lives.

© Same Beasley
© Nick Randley

The influx of tourist is changing the fabric of cities and destroying communities. Shops such as butchers, bakers and pharmacists are leaving the cities and being replaced by sovereign shops… which aren’t much use to a local resident who wants a pint of milk at the end of a long hard day.

Traditional markets that many cities are known for have become super popular with tourists who simply take photos next to the authentic produce but don’t actually purchase many goods.

Overtourism is weakening the threads of some of those most amazing places on the planet. Meaning they are slowly starting to lose their unique identity, which ironically is what the tourists go to see and experience in the first place.

The Top Facts That Sit At The Heart of Over Tourism

  • Cheap flights – it’s just too easy to jump on a plane when some tickets can be as cheap as a couple of pizzas and drinks.
  • Bin the bucket list - social media and the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) syndrome is making us all rush to get the best Instagram shots of the same places at the same time of year.
  • Gigantic cruise liners –cruise ships are often referred to bringing ‘fly-by tourists’ who drop by for a few hours into a place and then disappear adding little to the local economy.
  • Holiday Let market – the massive increase in short let properties is having a serious impact on the property market for residents of honeypot tourism sites.

As we start to think about life returning to normal - after the lockdown - we all have a duty of care to think long and hard about how we holiday and the places we go and the impact that it has on the planet. Has your experience of the lockdown made you rethink where you'll go next on your family vacation - we'd love to hear your thoughts, get in touch aloha@deckchairadventures.com


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