• Overtourism ” : a major challenge for the global travel and tourism industry

    Ramesh Tiwari
    January 8, 2018
    Overtourism ” : a major challenge for the global travel and tourism industry

    TravelBizNews —

    Berlin ( ITB )  :‘Overtourism’ has made headlines worldwide this year due to record visitor numbers at many destinations, prompting well-publicised protests by residents and diverse measures by local authorities in some places.

    Over-crowding is also negatively affecting travellers themselves, and the international travel and tourism industry needs to find solutions to manage visitor numbers without restricting growth, experts agreed at the 25th World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, Italy recently.

    At this exclusive industry meeting, initiated at the invitation of consultancy IPK International and supported by ITB Berlin, around 50 tourism experts and academics from around the world present the latest figures and current trends in international tourism.

    One international trip in ten affected by over-crowding

    Overtourism not only impacts directly on destinations, tourist attractions, local infrastructure and residents, but also on travellers themselves, Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, made clear.

    Around 25 percent of all international tourists had the feeling that their destination had been “over-crowded” this year, according to a special World Travel Monitor representative survey of 29,000 international travellers in 24 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas conducted in September 2017.

    Moreover, 9 percent – equivalent to around 100 million tourists – said this over-crowding had actually affected the quality of their outbound trip. At 13 percent, this feeling was the highest amongst families with children and young people under 34. In terms of origin regions, 15 percent of Asians, 9 percent of North Americans and 8 percent of Europeans said their trip experience had been affected by excessive visitor numbers. Hence, Asian outbound travellers seem to be more sensitive with regard to “over-crowding”.

    All kinds of holidays and destinations affected

    Contrary to public perceptions, the worst over-crowding is not always in big cities, according to World Travel Monitor figures. Ski resorts are the most crowded tourism locations. Nearly one international traveller in five (19 percent) said their winter sports holiday had been affected by overtourism, resulting, for example, in long waits for ski lifts.

    Other types of holidays were fairly equally impacted by high numbers of visitors, suggesting that overtourism is a general problem rather than restricted, for example, to cities. About one traveller in ten described the quality of their touring holiday, cruise, city trip, sun & beach holiday or countryside holiday as affected by too many tourists. The most affected cities include Guangzhou (24%), Shanghai (23%), Beijing (21%), Amsterdam and Istanbul (both 19%), and Barcelona, Florence and Venice (all 18%), according to World Travel Monitor® respondents.

    Analysing the results, Freitag said: “Overtourism is clearly not good for nature, culture, locals and tourists alike. However, global tourism has not reached its limits. Many destinations would be happy to see more visitors, either throughout the year or in the low season. So tourism does not have a growth problem but rather a regional and seasonal problem!”

    Local strategies with all stakeholders needed

    Various speakers at the Pisa forum highlighted the need for the international travel industry to act together with destinations on coordinated strategies to tackle overtourism. Such strategies could focus on issues such as managing seasonality and visitor flows, spreading tourism benefits such as jobs and revenues more widely among local communities, and investing in infrastructure and protection of tourism assets, they suggested.

    Cruise expert Prof. Dr. Dr. Alexis Papathanassis, director of the Institute of Maritime Tourism in Bremerhaven, Germany, explained: “Overtourism is a very localised problem at certain times in certain places, and is not always a problem in the surrounding area. The problem is not over-tourism in general, but under-management of tourism.” Above all, solutions needed to be found in destinations, for example by tackling seasonality, and not by limiting demand, Papathanassis urged. He underlined: “Each destination case is different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.”

    David Ruetz, Head of ITB Berlin, commented: “Overtourism is a major challenge for the global travel and tourism industry, and new solutions are obviously needed. This will be a hot topic at the ITB Berlin Convention next year where experts will discuss the problems as well as potential solutions.”

    Dec. 2017

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      News Brief

      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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