Avoiding Over Tourism
When it comes to vacation destinations, most people are only concerned with the primary attraction. But what about the impacts of tourist attractions?
The most obvious examples are the inevitable traffic jams, the noise, the crowds... But there are other effects, which are usually less visible.
As many of you know, here at BikeHike, we have always prided ourselves in getting you to emerging destinations, keeping you ahead of, or away from, the mass tourism curve, to connect you to destinations as purely as possible.
However, something we've been hearing a great deal about in the travel industry lately is the topic of over-tourism.
What Is Overtourism?
Overtourism is a term used to describe the overcrowding of popular destinations and areas, especially during peak seasons.
When too many visitors flock to a location during these busy periods, it can become harmful to both the area and its ecosystem.
Think about it – when numbers get too high and not enough measures are implemented to control tourist movements, well-defined pathways and local attractions quickly become overgrown and crowded with vehicles, cameras, and selfie sticks.
Mass Tourism Creates Overtourism.
This is when a destination becomes completely over-exposed and over-saturated. This is happening in a number of places at the moment, crowding out the ability for travellers to easily find a sense of connection to these destinations.
The sheer number of people visiting the destination, primarily for non-cultural experiences, threatens the ability to experience the destination authentically.
It also encroaches upon the lives of locals to the point that they may become hostile towards tourists and resentful of tourism.
Overall, we see over-tourism as a declaration for the need to avoid mass tourism, something that most often deteriorates destinations more than it actually contributes to the destination's development.
The travel industry, like many other industries that focus on growth above all else, hasn't been prepared to handle the consequences of such growth. Years and years of rapid growth have finally exceeded the acceptable limits and overtourism is now a real side effect of uninhibited tourism.
Responsible Tourism Is The Antidote For Overtourism.
Adventure tourism, on the other hand, can best be described as the opposite of mass tourism. According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the industry's foremost authority, an estimated average 65.6% of the total paid for an adventure package actually remains in the destination, sustainably contributing to the local economy.
In comparison, ATTA cites that within mass tourism, a mere 5% stays in developing destinations, on average.
This leakage in mass tourism is incredible and heartbreaking to all of us at BikeHike.
So, all aspects of each of our adventure tours are designed to reflect our core values, an important one being our commitment to responsibly contributing to the local people and economy.