The booming travel sector
puts in-demand destinations in peril, according to a new report on overtourism
from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
"Some places capture a
significant share of the travel and tourism pie, and may be threatened by their
own popularity in environmental, social or aesthetic terms," said Gloria
Guevara, WTTC's CEO.
Produced with McKinsey &
Co., the report,
"Coping with success: Managing overcrowding in tourism destinations",
looks at ways that destinations can identify and prevent overcrowding as well
as tools to control where it is already a problem.
Noting that the UN World
Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts that international tourist arrivals will
grow to more than 1.8 billion by 2030, the report says that those
arrivals are very concentrated in certain destinations.
"If travelers spread out
evenly across the planet, this influx would be relatively easy to absorb,"
the report said. "Of course, that is not the case."
It notes that France, the
most visited country in the world, drew 82 million international arrivals in
2016, while neighboring Germany got less than half that, and Portugal a
quarter. Tourism is also uneven within countries, with Paris welcoming triple
the number of visitors per capita as the Champagne region.
"This concentration of
international travelers in a handful of countries is likely to continue,"
the report predicts. "By 2020, Euromonitor projects the top 20 countries
will add 121 million arrivals, while the remaining 59 countries ... will add
around 72 million arrivals combined."
Overcrowding results in
alienated locals, degraded tourist experiences, overloaded infrastructure,
damaged nature, and threats to culture and heritage, the report contends.
Dubrovnik and Venice were identified as cities most at risk.
The report identifies ways
destinations can prevent or alleviate overcrowding by spreading visitors across
sites, adjusting pricing to balance supply and demand, and regulating
accommodation supply and limiting access and activities.