Travel and tourism experts from around the world have warned of the dangers of over -tourism at the recent World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa.
This follows the recent protests from residents at popular tourism destinations who objected to the commercialisation and over-populating of their towns.
Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said she was confident her strategy of spreading the tourism season beyond the summer season will assuage any fears of over tourism.
“Prolonging our season is very important to us so we can satisfy all our visitors through a longer tourism period, not only for the summer season but also throughout the year,” she said.
Referring to Santorini, the Minister said that in 2016 more than 100 hotels stayed open during the winter 2016/2017 season, this way allowing visitors to visit the island during the off season.
“It was a big success and it is an example on how you can manage so well to spread all these tourists during 365 days a year in order to eliminate the problem of ‘over-tourism’,” the minister underlined.
“Over-tourism is clearly not good for nature, culture, locals and tourists alike. However, global tourism has not reached its limits. Many destinations would be happy to see more visitors, either throughout the year or in the low season. So tourism does not have a growth problem but rather a regional and seasonal problem,” said Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International one of the organizers of the World Travel Monitor Forum,
According to the other survey findings, over-tourism affects travelers as much as it does residents, the destinations, tourist attractions and local infrastructure. Indicatively, approximately 25 percent of all international tourists felt that their destination had been “over-crowded” this year, according to a World Travel Monitor® survey of 29,000 travelers in 24 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas conducted in September 2017; with 9 percent – equivalent to around 100 million tourists – admitting this over-crowding had affected the quality of their outbound trip.