Destination Management: Coping with Success

In August 2017, a number of holiday destinations levied complaints against the sheer number of tourists visiting their locales, focusing on a range of issues including: Overcrowding; increased road traffic; limited facilities for everyone to use; rising housing costs for residents; environmental degradation; tourists’ inappropriate behaviour; issues with Airbnb and cruise tourism, etc. There are links below to a small selection of news stories in various media that outline certain of these issues:

Euronews (2017) ‘The dark side of tourism: Dubrovnik residents use TV to decide when to go out’, Euronews, 22nd August 2017 

Kettle, M. (2017) ‘Mass tourism is at a tipping point – but we’re all part of the problem’, The Guardian, 11th August 2017 

Kuzmanovic, J. (2017) ‘Croatia Has a Plan to Avoid the Tourism Backlash - Get You to Spend More’, Bloomberg, 24th August 2017 

Shelvachman, A. (2017) ‘Summer of overtourism: 4 lessons for the travel industry’, Skift, 16th August 2017

In December 2018 the IPM published our Overtourism Tooklit of Resources. Since then a number of developments have taken place that have led us to update these materials. The 2020 updates can be found here.

In January 2019 the UNWTO also released a 2nd volume of Case Studies about understanding and managing overtourism in urban contexts,

World Tourism Organization; Centre of Expertise Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality; NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences; and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (eds., 2019), ‘Overtourism’? – Understanding and Managing Urban Tourism Growth beyond Perceptions, Volume 2: Case Studies, UNWTO, Madrid, DOI:https://doi.org/10.18111/9789284420629

Is de-marketing the answer?

There is a good book on the subject of ‘De-marketing’ that outlines various strategies that seek to shrink demand and discourage either the total level of consumption or the level of consumption by certain groups of consumers. Chapter 3 (by Gary Warnaby and Dominic Medway) is concerned with “Demarketing Places”; Chapter 6 (by Heather Skinner) goes into various issues relating toGeneral Demarketing”, and Chapter 11 (by Sally McKechnie)  offers the following “Case Study: Ostensible Demarketing: British Airways Tells Britons "Don’t Fly"”.

Is government regulation the answer?

The online article in the Guardian newspaper (below) suggests that “Only governments can handle runaway tourism. Few major industries fall so squarely into their hands – local, regional and national. Governments decide who is eligible for visas: how many cruise ships, airlines and trains can bring in visitors, how many hotels receive building permits, how many beaches are open to development, how many museums and concert halls are open, even how many farmers receive subsidies to raise food for the restaurants and cafes that tourists frequent. After years spent tracking the explosion of tourism, I came to the obvious conclusion that without serious and difficult government co-ordination, mayhem can follow.”

Becker, E. (2017) ‘Only governments can stem the tide of tourism sweeping the globe’, The Guardian, 6th August 2017