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While tourism brings many benefits to a destination’s economy, for some destinations however, over-tourism is becoming a bigger problem every day. Many cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam and Venice are putting measures in place to protect the heart and soul of their city and to preserve their famous historic landmarks. Measures such as promoting neighbouring cites, restricting the opening of shops aimed at tourists, and tourism boards not marketing certain cities, etc.  In other destinations, governments and and bodies managing national parks are limiting the number of visitors by issuing licences to a restricted number of people, such as the Galapagos Islands and Machu Pichu. But it's not just up to the destinations to reduce numbers. Everyone should take responsibility. So what can we do in the travel industry to reduce the negative effects of overtourism?

 

Offer alternative destinations

While there are many popular cities and countries that are on the list of over visited destinations, there are so many alternative places to promote. Countries such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Moldova, Greenland and Kazakhstan are examples of countries that don’t see many tourists at all. Additionally, regional alternatives could be a good option. For instance, if a customer wants to go to Bali which is suffering tremendously from overtourism, offer clients to head to the north of the island instead of opting to stay at a resort in the congested Kuta area in the south.

 

Look for off-peak dates

Not everyone would be interested in discovering off-the-beaten path destinations, so if a client insists on visiting a place that features on the ‘over-visited’ list, try and see if there are any off-peak times when fewer people are visiting. Especially if people are not tied down to school holidays this could be an easy way to help spread visitor numbers.

 

Promote local

While many tourists opt to stay at big all-inclusive resorts more often than not the money paid towards these types of accommodation won’t end up in the pockets of locals. Opt to book your clients into smaller locally run hotels and recommend locally run restaurants for their meals and local tour companies for excursions.

Tourism can and in many cases still is a good thing for a country or a city; it attracts investment and drives infrastructure development resulting in job creation. So let's promote it wisely.

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