We want to show you what overtourism is, how it is affecting the tourism industry and how ecotourism is the solution to overcome it.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet and generates significant income for many countries – even developing countries – it has provided many jobs and revitalized many economies. But, in addition, mass tourism is also a source of serious problems such as environmental degradation, economic dependence on tourist activity, social dislocation or loss of cultural heritage.
What is Overtourism?
Simply put, overtourism occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination. For example, when narrow roads fill up with tourist vehicles, that is overtourism.
When wildlife is driven away, when tourists can’t see the sights because of crowds, when fragile environments are degraded, these are all signs of overtourism.
This type of tourism harms communities through overuse or destruction of resources due to overcrowding – it arises from a lack of concern for the health and well-being of the destination community. This is the complete opposite of the fundamental principle of ecotourism.
Overtourism is the inevitable consequence of tourism that is solely about the privilige of the tourist rather than a partnership between the traveler and the people of a destination
It should be emphasized that the people, culture, environment and natural resources of a community are the most integral part of tourism, not the traveler.
In some “hot spots” over-tourism is a common problem because the degradation caused by crowding can far outweigh the benefits of tourism revenues, especially when those revenues are not distributed equitably.
This type of tourism is seriously affecting the planet and the tourism industry. Increasingly, the media and other sectors see it as a problem that stems from the very concept of travel, even if it only covers a small part of it.
Over-tourism can negatively affect traveler sentiment as well as the small-scale sustainable tourism industry. Not only is it completely unsustainable, but it is a growing problem. And the fact is, the policy responses to it are as bad and ill-considered as the policies that produced it.
Developing countries are the most sensitive to the effects of excessive tourism on their natural, economic and social environment.
This is because their waste and sewage systems are ill-equipped to handle large numbers of people, and over-tourism often overwhelmingly litters the destination. Wildlife ecosystems are razed or endangered to make way for more construction, culminating in the destruction of local communities. Local people are driven from their homes and do not even get to share in the economic benefits of tourism revenues derived from their own use of their home communities.
¨Ecotourism is type of tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.¨
Let’s evaluate the following differences between ecotourism and overtourism in which we highlight why ecotourism is a very sound and sustainable solution.
- Preserves and cares for natural resources.
- Results in sustainable income for the community.
- Results in carefully planned tourism policies developed in collaboration with communities, indigenous peoples, conservationists and experts.
- Its main objective is to ensure the health and well-being of the community.
- Encourages travelers to connect naturally with areas neglected by tourism.
- It is the consequence of tourism that has been poorly managed and planned, in which it seeks to maximize income by allowing as many tourists as possible.
- It crowds tourists into small areas without considering the destruction and damage this causes.
- Its only and main objective is to maximize tourism income.
- It destroys and deteriorates local natural ecosystems.
- The income from tourism goes to a privileged few.
The most positive and sustainable solution to overcoming this growing problem is ecotourism. Ecotourism can provide a short-term solution at a relatively low cost if employed correctly. It will allow revenues to be more equitably distributed to underserved areas, ensuring that tourism revenues stay in and benefit the communities that practice it.