Before COVID-19 hit, the biggest problem in the world of travel was overtourism. Crowds threatened to spoil natural environments and make daily life unbearable for residents of popular travel destinations. Then, seemingly overnight, tourism nearly ceased. Yet there is no question that travel will resume; the only question is, when it does, what will it look like? Will we return to a world of overrun monuments, littered beaches, and gridlocked city streets? Or can we do things differently this time?
Overtourism: Lessons for a Better Future charts a path toward tourism that is not only sustainable but regenerative for the places we love and the people who live there. Bringing together tourism officials, city council members, travel journalists, consultants, scholars, and trade association members, this practical book explores overcrowding from a variety of perspectives. After examining the causes and effects of overtourism, it turns to management approaches in five distinct types of tourism destinations:
1. historic cities;
2. national parks and protected areas;
3. World Heritage Sites;
4. beaches and coastal communities; and
5. destinations governed by regional and national authorities.
While each location presents its own challenges, common mitigation strategies are emerging. Visitor education, traffic planning, and redirection to lesser-known sites are among the measures that can protect the economic benefit of tourism without overwhelming local communities.
As tourism revives around the world, these innovations will guide government agencies, parks officials, site managers, civic groups, environmental NGOs, tourism operators, and others with a stake in protecting our most iconic places.