How To Avoid Adding To Your Favorite Destination’s Overcrowding Problem
By Parker Diakite
It’s a great feeling when outsiders come to your city to experience the place that makes you beam with pride. Can you imagine, however, having certain places or activities taken away or shut down?
In 2016, Thailand’s government banned public access to three popular islands: Koh Khai Naiin, Koh Khai Nok, and Koh Khai Nui as a result of overcrowding from tourists.
The desire to explore isn’t going anywhere. In fact, a recent report by the World Travel and Tourism Council shows that travel and tourism is one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors. The reason? According to the report, a growing middle-class, improvements in technology, and a generation of people with an increased appetite to explore the world.
Researchers define “tourism overcrowding” as a time when the number of tourists visiting a place causes the balance between the economy, the people and the resources to be misaligned. In WTTC’s study conducted in partnership with The McKinsey & Company, analysts found that overcrowding has the following impact:
Alienates local residents
Degrades tourist experience
Damage to nature
Threats to culture and heritage
In other words, tourism analysts fear that some destinations are being loved to death, which is why they are stepping up to help local governments take action and re-direct tourists: which can help you in long-run to avoid large crowds.
“Tourists have to remember that the places that they are visiting are people’s homes and they are visitors into those homes,” said Rochelle Turner, director of research, with WTTC. “There is a responsibility in behavior that comes with visiting that we must respect.”
While the WTTC works with stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector, here’s what tourists can do in the meantime:
Try the least popular destinations
Since travel is all about exploring and discovery, try to re-focus your next travel plans by visiting the not so common places.
Consider off-season travel
With kids being home from school, college breaks, and a slower work-load for some, summer is a popular time to travel. If you have some vacation time built up, try to travel during the winter season when there are typically less tourists around.
Remember as travelers, you are visiting someones home. Be respectful to their customs and traditions by researching ahead of your scheduled vacation.