Tourism seems to constantly be on the rise in destinations across the globe, but what about places that simply can’t handle the influx of new arrivals?
Enter the World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage (WTACH), recently founded by Chris Flynn, the former director for the Pacific region at the Pacific Asia Travel Association. While overtourism happens in economically developed areas, the organization plans to assist those destinations that are less economically developed and therefore susceptible to some seriously negative impacts when hit with too many tourists.
“WTACH works with destinations to provide development strategies and policy framework recommendations to avoid the kind of tourism meltdown we are seeing at Angkor Wat, Phi Phi Island and Mt. Everest,” says Flynn.
As millennials demand more authentic and local travel experiences (and social media and travel apps entice them to do so), there’s more pressure on tour operators to offer just those, according to Flynn. In doing so, however, historic and cultural sites are at risk of becoming damaged. One specific concern: Turkey plans to expand tourism arrivals from 40 million in 2018 to 70 million by 2023—almost doubling the amount of people the country hosts in only a five-year period.
Last year, countries such as Croatia, New Zealand, Japan, Barbados and Scotland implemented tourism taxes to assist in funding infrastructure to better accommodate new arrivals. As meeting planners opt for more experiential options to offer their attendees, it’s important to consider the host community and the impact—good or bad—that you may be making on it.