Many places all around the world are struggling with over tourism. Huge crowds, often influenced by social media recommendations, descend on destinations that struggle to cope with the influx of travellers. Locals are priced out of housing by the demand for holiday lets, fragile natural landscapes are damaged, and the local infrastructures struggle. If you’re worried about contributing to over tourism, here are our top tips for how to avoid contributing to it.
Do your research
Before you book a trip, do your research and find out if the place you want to visit is actually welcoming tourists with open arms. Some destinations need more visitors, but others are clearly struggling with the numbers that they already have. If you desperately want to visit somewhere that has an over tourism problem, consider visiting off season or see if there is an alternative destination you could visit.
Visit second and third cities
Capital cities often attract the most visitors, but the second and third cities of the countries you plan on visiting are just as interesting. Think outside the box and plan your travels to take in less popular destinations that will be more welcoming to travellers. Not only will you be avoiding contributing to over tourism, but you could stumble upon a hidden gem.
Visit off season
Never plan a trip to a popular destination in their peak season. You will find yourself just another person navigating the huge crowds – not only will you be contributing to the problem, but you will find it difficult to secure restaurant, accommodation and transport bookings. Travel off season and you will be treated to quieter streets, cheaper accommodation and a more personal experience.
Spend your money locally
One of the biggest problems of over tourism is linked to cruise ships. Visitors flock into destinations such as Venice or Oia in Santorini for a couple of hours, clogging up the streets while taking photographs, before boarding back onto their boats to enjoy their evening meals. No money is actually invested in the local economy. If you insist on visiting a destination that has an over tourism problem, make sure you spend your money in local shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Promote lesser-known destinations
If you are an influencer, blogger or journalist, make a habit of promoting lesser-known destinations rather than those that are already popular. Even if you do not fit into these categories, promote quieter, off the beaten track destinations to your friends and family by sharing photos on social media and telling stories of your travels by word of mouth.
Slow down the pace of your travels
Don’t spend your travels rushing around trying to tick off the ‘must-see’ sights. Slow down the pace of your travels and get to know the places that you are visiting. Seek out the lesser known sights, wander around the streets rather than taking public transport, and get to know your destination as a local.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.