Global movement is on the rise. A rising middle class around the world enables more and more people to travel around the globe. The global tourism industry anticipates an even stronger market growth within the next five years. And if you have been travelling around for a while, it may have crossed your mind: Given how many people are travelling around today already, how can one make a contribution to protect the places we visit and photograph?
It has been reported recently that Thai government authorities have issued an indefinite tourist ban for Phuket’s Maya Bay – a popular destination which gained its popularity thanks to Lenardo di Caprio’s “The Beach” movie in 2000. Officials hope that the ban will support the ecosystem which has suffered under the huge amount of daily visitors.
On the other hand, one needs to ask whether such dramatic measures are necessary in order to protect places we admire so much on our wallpapers or feeds.
Overcrowded Destinations: Industry Leaders And Governments Need to Rethink Their Approaches
While it seems so desperate to know that current environmental issues are piling up the pressure to take immediate actions to protect the nature, industry leaders and travellers need to think about the long-term impact that overcrowded destinations have on the ecosystem.
From our point of view, different stakeholders need to collaborate better in order to provide a better visitor experience and alternative itineraries to steer the flow of tourists coming to one destination:
- Government agencies, including tourism boards, want to promote popular destinations in order to drive more tax revenues
- Local businesses do want to ensure a sufficient stream of visitors to maintain their costs.
- Local residents want less tourists in order to maintain their quality of life.
Regardless of any particular measure, one party might resist to any kind of change as it harms its individual interest. However, long-term thinking and measures are sustainable and helpful for all parties than short-term moves that may gain immediate results.
Providing Better Information For Travellers
If you scroll down through your Instagram or Pinterest feed, you might wonder how many people visit particular places, like Bali, Venice, Rome or Hong Kong. The reality is, overcrowded places also become an inconvenient, stressful experience for travellers. We all want to take that beautiful capture to show our friends (and/or followers) that we have visited X / Y / Z place.
Often times we find out that it’s more enjoyable during an off-peak season, or there a plenty of alternative routes to enjoy the places we want to visit. The reason why you don’t know it is high likely due to a lack of sufficient, detailed information.
Tourism leaders need to provide more, detailed information about popular destinations.
- When’s the best time to visit?
- What if I go there during an off-peak season?
- Are there any alternative routes, itineraries to avoid large crowds or waiting times?
What’s My Responsibility As An Individual Traveller Then?
While most individual travellers do not have the responsibility for those situations, here’s what you might consider if you plan your next adventure:
- Do I visit the place during a high-peak season?
- Do I use sustainable methods, mood of transportation and accommodation that also support local residents?
- Are there any alternate itineraries, other than those offered on specific platforms, that I can take in order to avoid large crowds, waiting times / queues?
- Respect the local customs and adapt your own behaviour accordingly.