Tourism simply means travel to various destinations and includes the process of exploring these destinations of the globe. Tourism is undertaken to enjoy recreational activities and to pursue relaxation and pleasure. Presently, the travel and tourism industry is seen to be growing rapidly all around the world today. The international tourism industry is on the rise with transportation means becoming faster and more comfortable. This is resulting in the crowding of the tourist regions. This overcrowding is nothing but referred to as overtourism tourism by the experts of the travel and tourism industry. Overtourism in simple terms can be explained as a perceived congestion or overcrowding of any place of tourism due to the excess number of tourists or visitors (Dodds & Butler, 2019a). This overcrowding of regions usually disturbs the local community and has resulted in rising conflicts. In simple words, overtourism can be observed when there are too many visitors at a particular tourist destination. Overtourism has various adverse impacts on the environment and the people of that region.
Similar to most of the organisations and industries, the travel and tourism industry also focuses largely on the growth of the company or the industry, ignoring the negative effects of it. However, after the unprecedented growth crossing the threshold, this tourism is found to cause more problems in many tourists regions, than benefits. This overtourism is not only observed in the developed cities and tourists destinations but is also witnessed in the natural protected areas like national parks, wildlife reserves, etc. This excess tourism is largely responsible for disturbing the natural balance of the ecosystem, endangers the flora and fauna of the region, and disturbs the lifestyle and of the residents of that destination (Milano, Cheer & Novelli, 2018).
Similarly, such negative impacts of overtourism and some destinations of tourist attractions which are facing problems due to overtourism are discussed below.
Amsterdam is among the most popular tourist destination in the world, and on the travel list of most of the travellers. People from all over the world wish to visit this place at least once in their lifetime, as this place is an amalgamation of natural beauty and lively, enthusiastic and celebratory culture. Some studies show that Amsterdam will witness a footfall of more than 20 million visitors by the year 2021 (Milano, Cheer & Novelli, 2018). Some areas of this place are Museum Quarter are under strain due to their popularity. The local people are largely affected by this excess tourists and their unpleasant behaviour. The regular lifestyle of the people is disturbed as and they complain of feeling besieged by visitors using the city's bicycle-thronged streets as a travel playground (Colomb & Novy, 2017). The overcrowding of the place results in traffic congestion of the streets and destroying the natural look and vibe of the place.
Macho Picchu is a famous tourist attraction located in the region of Peru having a historical and cultural heritage. The number of tourists visiting this place is rising rapidly, and this overtourism is hurting the historical heritage of this region. The travellers have climbed and invaded the ancient ruins of Incans drastically. This has resulted in massive pollution of the place, eroding and destruction of the pathways and damage to the ancient culture of Machu Picchu. Thus, this place is now listed under List of World Heritage in Danger by UNESCO (Dodds & Butler, 2019a)
Bali is another among the list of most visited tourist places of the world. The tourist island destination is witnesses increasing numbers of tourists from all over the world, due to it being an easily accessible location, a naturally attractive destination for its beaches and coral reefs and having comparatively lower currency value as compared to other famous destinations, this location is considered a budget-friendly destination and preferred by most of the tourists. This overtourism has adversely impacted the region and has deteriorated its natural fauna and flora attractiveness to a great extent. This island is extremely choked with tourist congestion, extreme exploitation of resources, the rural people and their livelihood being affected. The island is also experiencing portable water shortages recently due to overtourism (Dodds & Butler, 2019a).
Overtourism is the result of growing tourist numbers in a given area. It refers simply to the notion that there are too many visitors in a particular area. The most important problem of this overtourism is that the destination has to suffer tremendously. Overtourism major problems consist of increasing pressure on local resources and facilities due to growing number of visitors, changes and disturbances of the local heritage, loss of culture and authenticity, destruction of the quality of life for the local indigenous community, and rising annoyance and conflicts due to the presence of excess tourists (Colomb & Novy, 2017). This overtourism greatly harms the natural landscape, damages the beaches, puts the local infrastructure under great strain, creates pollution of the ecosystem and also puts pressure on the pricing of the property market to some extent.
This overtourism is gradually becoming a global issue, and the governing bodies of the tourist regions and other environment conserving and world organizations like UNESCO and implementing various strategies and corrective measures to mitigate the risk of overtourism and prevent the tourist regions from the potential damage. Some efforts for mitigating risk include restricting the entry of tourist to the regions, imposing taxes and raising tourist taxes, revising tourist’s laws, limiting entry of commercial companies of the holiday stay (Gutiérrez, et.al, 2017). The local authorities also try to divert tourists to less busy attractions to prevent congestion, provides a limitation to use of local resources by the hospitality companies, bans opening of new tourist shops, banning use plastics in tourist places, and so on. In some extreme cases of overtourism, the local authorities have opted for closing down the attraction completely to prevent its further damage.
As the tourism is rapidly increasing, more and more tourist destinations and attractions are at a potential risk of the harmful effects of tourism. Some of the reasons that removing the risk zone of overtourism are Thailand, Japan, Spain, India, Italy, and some other places. It is essential for the legislative authorities in collaboration with the other environmentalist organizations and local community, take necessary steps to mitigate this risk and prevent it. To deal with overtourism, the local authorities should reduce promoting the destinations to large extent, impose tourist fine for littering places and such unpleasant behaviours (Dodds & Butler, 2019b). The city administration should ensure that a balance is maintained between providing tourist experiences and protection of the environment. It should be a part of larger management of the region and should aim to protect the public spaces, local heritage and economy, and the local community (Dodds & Butler, 2019b). This can be achieved by promoting entry of other foreign products of tourist shopping, and encourage the local indigenous product sale, encouraging group transport systems for tourists, and so on.
Colomb, C., & Novy, J. (Eds.). (2016). Protest and resistance in the tourist city. London: Routledge.
Dodds, R., & Butler, R. (2019a). The phenomena of overtourism: A review. International Journal of Tourism Cities, 5(4), 519-528.
Dodds, R., & Butler, R. (Eds.). (2019b). Overtourism: Issues, realities and solutions (Vol. 1). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.
Gutiérrez, J., García, J., Romanillos, G. & Salas-Olmedo, M. (2017). The eruption of AirBnB in tourist cities: comparing spatial patterns of hotels and peer-to-peer accommodation in Barcelona. Tourism Management Journal, 62, 278-91.
Milano, C., Cheer, J. & Novelli, M. (2018). Overtourism: Excesses, discontents and measures in travel and tourism. Boston: CABI
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