Overtourism is when a tourist destination is overflooded or overcrowded by visitors. When there are more tourists than the ‘standard capacity’ of a place, then we can say that place has over-tourism. The standard capacity depends on the definition of the locals/residents of the destination. There are various impacts of over-tourism, and the people who suffer the most under it are the locals. The major impacts of over-tourism fall on the resources, lifestyle and overall well being of the local residents.
We can witness over-tourism at certain times of the year. These are known as ‘peak tourism months’ as huge traffic of visitors flood a certain destination. Mostly it’s during the summer as people tend to vacation more during the warmer months. During these waves of tourists entering the country, cities struggle to cope with the demands. As more people require accommodation and other resources, the overall prices and availability of resources are adversely affected. This leads to the locals that are not in the hospitality industry to suffer. And also the overall cost of traveling is higher with the lack of resources for all.
With higher demand for accommodation, the cost of housing goes up. Likewise, the increase in rental services like Airbnb have made more locals in tourist destinations empty there houses to accommodate only tourists. This makes it difficult for locals to find affordable housing. Not only the locals, with more tourists visiting the same city the cost of accommodation gets expensive even for the visitors. This is one of the many problems that are the result of over-tourism. This trend does not seem to be going away anytime soon so we have to start looking for ways to go around over-tourism or not be a part of it. Avoiding over-tourism helps increase the quality of life for the locals as well as make our travel experience more positive and enjoyable.
The best possible way to avoid this and maintain your travel budget is to opt for less crowded destinations. Places that are not the major selling points for the tourism industry and not many foreigners know about. Become a more responsible tourist. While making your travel plans, select off-seasons to help avoid crowds and a bonus for you would be a lower price in accommodation as the demand is lower. You will also get to enjoy your destination better as you don’t have to deal with swarms of tourists with their camera flashes and line of tourist buses. You can actually get time to admire the architectural beauty of monuments rather than trying to avoid photobombing selfies and pictures.
To give you an example. If you are traveling to Bali, rather than staying in line for hours to take a picture in the famous ‘swing’ or be stuck in a traffic jam to get to an overpopulated ‘popular’ tourist attraction you can ask the locals for better destinations. Hike to distant monuments with equally mesmerizing architecture like Penglipuran Village or Munduk. Take local transport, interact with the locals and find new gems along your journey. This will make your trip more authentic and memorable and a bonus advantage is you will discover awesome rare locations for your gram. You will also be welcomed by the locals as they don’t get many tourists. However, if you really want to visit the popular destinations of Bali and the giant swing has always been in your bucket list, book your tickets in off-seasons to avoid over-tourism.
While we are traveling, we can be more contributing to the local economy as well as responsible towards the local environment. Traveling responsibly not only helps us avoid over-tourism but helps us connect to the locals and make our experience more authentic and real.