Constrained infrastructure, diminished tourist experience, damage to natural resources, threat to cultural heritage and alienation of local residents are the key findings of the latest report on tourism, released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and McKinsey & Company.
Titled “Coping with Success: Managing Overcrowding in Tourism Destinations”, the report found that the top 20 country destinations – among these France, the US, Spain, China and Italy – will add more arrivals by 2020 than the rest of the world combined. Together with the UK, Germany, Mexico, Thailand and Russia, they will welcome 70 million more international tourist arrivals than in 2016.
Greece is also among these countries expected by 2020 to see the number of international tourist arrivals rise by 3 million.
Seven destinations – Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Rome, Venice and Warsaw – were found as having the highest scores in terms of density of tourism (ie number of visitors per square kilometre) and tourism intensity (the number of tourists per one resident).
Besides highlighting the problems posed by too much tourism, the survey also identifies actions including extending visitor numbers over time, spreading visitors across sites, adjusting pricing to balance supply and demand, regulating accommodation supply and limiting access and activities.
The report concluded that tourism and destination managers must work with both public and private stakeholders to develop a plan that will focus on the impacted communities.
“Tourism is a force for good in the world. It creates jobs and economic growth. In 2017, travel and tourism will contribute nearly 7.9 trillion dollars to the global economy. With the world getting richer – one billion more people will be in the global middle class by 2030 – and travel becoming ever more accessible, our sector will continue to grow. Some places capture a significant share of the travel and tourism pie, and may be threatened by their own popularity in environmental, social, or aesthetic terms,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO.
“Our intention in producing this report is to provide a starting point for a new conversation around tourism growth, to help all stakeholders work together to find a path forward based on sharing best practice and focusing on sustainable solutions,” said Guevara.