Overtourism is recognized as the overcrowding in terms of tourism suffered by some cities whose popularity has grown so much that this influx of people causes damage to the local environment and historical places, as well as a worse quality of life for the inhabitants of the city.
As we saw during the pandemic, the retreat of the masses allowed the ecosystems of the most frequented places to reestablish themselves, and the flora and fauna to retake vital spaces from where they had been expelled by man. Unfortunately, after covid-19, the desire to go out and travel again ended this advance that nature had won. Excessive post-pandemic tourism in a short time has greatly contributed to the deterioration of the environment.
It is important to put on the table that overtourism not only affects the detriment of mother nature, it is also measurable by the economic, political and social impacts that the affected region has to now through. But, the real question here is, how to counter overtourism? And the answer has to do with the relatively new term “sustainable tourism.”
Sustainable tourism implies the socioeconomic development of the region without negatively impacting the nature and the urban environment. But today, the definition has to go beyond that. Sustainable travel must promote the recovery of communities affected by tourism, to help reduce poverty, which implies the improvement of infrastructures that favor locals and the recovery of the ecosystem.
What can we do as travelers?
Travel has a huge impact on local communities and it is important to protect natural and cultural sites, so travelers should become “ambassadors” for conservation and build an ethic around conservation that contributes to the protection of cultural heritage, of the biosphere and that each trip has a positive impact on the quality of life of the residents of the area in question.
To make a sustainable trip it is important to take certain practices into consideration. Some of them are:
- Short trips should preferably be made by train to avoid the carbon emissions produced by planes.
- Avoid making purchases that involve single-use plastics and prefer service providers that follow this practice.
- Prefer local companies to ensure that the money spent stays within the country’s borders. An example of this is eating in local restaurants so that the economic benefit stays in the local community.
According to the WTO, world tourism in 2021 meant a total of 415 million people, therefore, although it seems little, these small individual actions become collective and have a gigantic impact on the communities that are visited.