Researchers air overtourism concerns amid post-pandemic travel boom
EHL scholars warn of overtourism’s impact on communities, environment, and advocate collaboration for solutions.
EHL Hospitality Business School’s Tatyana Tsukanova and Lionel Saul revealed concerns over the reemergence of overtourism as tourist arrivals rebound to pre-pandemic levels.
Speaking to the Asian Business Review magazine recently, the researchers underscored the adverse effects of overtourism on local communities, the environment, and the economy.
“Ignoring overtourism has drastic consequences on local communities and the environment,” said Tsukanova, citing the impact on historical landmarks, local infrastructure strain, and rising cost of living for residents.
Moreover, the influx of tourists adversely affects the environment and wildlife.
Adding to the discussion, Saul said: “Overtourism creates economic imbalance, benefiting big companies but neglecting local communities.”
Such is observed when big companies siphon profits from the destination whilst leaving minimal economic benefits for the local community.
That is why collaborative efforts and innovative solutions are being proposed by the two researchers to mitigate overtourism’s burdens on popular tourist destinations.
For her part, Tsukanova stressed data-driven decision-making and technology’s role in managing tourist flows, ensuring sustainable and less crowded destinations.
Startups in transportation are already navigating tourists away from overcrowded places.
“Thanks to technology, we can navigate better the tourist flows, avoid overcrowded places, and decrease the negative impact on locals,” Tsukanova said.
Chiming in, Saul said: “Collaborating with online rating agencies can disperse tourists throughout countries, supporting economic endurance and lessening overtourism in big cities.”
In addition, he suggested implementing better taxes on the airline sector to reduce overtourism by raising ticket prices, resulting in fewer tourists.
Both researchers also acknowledged the growing demand for sustainable travel among Asian jetsetters.
Taukanova said she believes in the transparency and education in promoting sustainable practices among hospitality establishments.
On the other hand, Saul emphasised the need for raising awareness and involving more people in the value chain to address sustainability issues effectively.
To address the issue of greenwashing in the travel and tourism industry, Tsukanova stressed the significance of transparency in sustainable practices.
She urged companies to be clear and specific about their eco-friendly initiatives, providing evidence of their efforts.
The two also mentioned the application of certification systems and accreditations to validate sustainability claims.
If there was a clear message they conveyed during the interview, it was that collaboration, innovative solutions and commitment to transparency would allow the travel and tourism sector chart a path towards a more responsible and sustainable future, positively impacting the environment and local communities.