With destinations continuing to focus on increasing year-over-year visitor arrivals and agencies on increasing their bottom line, Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko believes those in the travel industry can take a more active role on combatting overtourism.
“We’re a little bit drunk on the economic impact,” he said, speaking to media at the Travel Leaders Network EDGE conference in Washington DC. “Travel Leaders Group plans to take a leading position in finding business solutions to overtourism by working with destinations, supplier partners, and travel advisors to proactively develop alternative itineraries and spread demand, supported by education and awareness programs on how to market, sell and travel responsibly.”
In partnership with New York University’s School of Professional Studies, Travel Leaders Group has introduced an initiative to research and address overtourism, which has been underway since January.
In a survey with 15 destination marketing organizations as part of the research, 80% said they had some issues with overtourism and 53% noted they acted to address those issues. Some of the top actions included educating travel advisors on less-frequented areas to visit, utilizing shoulder seasons, and working with tour operators to diversify the tourism spread.
“We join the DMOs in their belief that travel advisors play a crucial role in educating travellers about alternative destinations, itineraries or seasons,” he said. “Our goal is to work with our advisors and destination partners to identify those alternatives and be a principal source of that information.”
The company also surveyed its advisors, finding that 82% feel the travel industry should take a proactive role in addressing overtourism. Meanwhile, 77% support hourly restrictions for popular attractions to control the volume of visitors at peak times.
Core areas of concerns cited are the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Iceland, Antarctica, US National Parks, South Africa, New Zealand and Banff.
Stay tuned for more in an upcoming edition of Canadian Travel Press.