As part of its new initiative to tackle the growing problem of overtourism, Travel Leaders Group released a new study on advisors’ and destinations’ perceptions of the issue at the organization’s EDGE Conference in Washington, DC. Travel Leaders partnered with New York University’s School of Professional Studies on the report.
As part of the study NYU researchers surveyed 15 destination marketing organizations, of which 80 percent said that they had some issues with overtourism. Fifty-three percent said that they have acted to address those issues, with educating travel advisors on less-frequented areas and working with tour operators cited as the top actions taken.
The study also included a number of insights into how travel advisors feel about overtourism:
- Eighty-two percent of advisors believe the travel industry should take a proactive role in addressing overtourism.
- Fifty-six percent have seen an increase in negative feedback from clients because of overtourism in destinations.
- Seventy-seven percent support hourly restrictions for popular attractions to control the volume of visitors at peak times.
- Half support fees as a mechanism to control overcrowding.
- Forty-three percent said they have had one or more clients who have included a volunteer activity in their vacation during the past year.
- Ninety-one percent urged travel suppliers to invest charitable dollars in destinations where they operate, and 78 percent are more likely to recommend those suppliers who do.
- Eighty-two percent said they believe the advisor should counsel their clients on responsible behavior.
Travel agents said they advise their clients on the following:
- Local laws and customs: 80 percent
- Tipping and other dining customs: 80 percent
- Sensitivity to Westerner stereotypes: 40 percent
- Hand gestures: 26 percent