The report examines 41 case studies of destinations, introducing the first formal definition of over-tourism, presenting destinations that are at risk from their negative effects and offering them a formula to deal with.

The report, “Overture: Impact and possible policy solutions,” conducted by Breda University headed by Paul Peeters, shows signs of over-tourism in destinations, analyzes management approaches that apply different destinations, and policies to address it.

The selection of case studies of destinations was based on criteria that include a case by EU member country for each of the four types of destinations (rural, urban, coastal and islands, cultural heritage and attractions) as well as 12 emblematic destinations outside the EU .

It concludes that there can be no set of evidence due to the complex causes and effects of over-tourism per case. Avoiding over-tourism requires individualized policies resulting from the co-operation of tourism stakeholders and policy makers.

As a result of the research, the study concludes in the first definition of the phenomenon: Over-tourism describes the situation in which the impact of tourism in given periods and areas exceeds the physical, ecological, social, economic, psychological and political boundaries of the destination .

Furthermore, the existential threat posed by over-tourism to the local communities of destinations is identified. While mass gathering of people is seen by industry as an issue that primarily prevents continued growth, the impact of over-tourism may represent an existential danger to destinations around the world, the study said.

Spreading over-tourism may cause a loss of authenticity and pose a significant risk to the attractiveness of destinations in the future.

The uncontrolled growth of tourism can cause significant damage to landscapes, air quality and water quality, as well as to the living conditions of residents, causing inter alia economic inequalities and social isolation.

The most powerful indicators of hyper-tourism are …

– the density of tourism (overnight stays per km2) and its intensity (overnight stays per inhabitant)

-the share of Airbnb’s bed capacity in the combined completeness of Airbnb and booking.com

-The share of tourism in local GDP

– Aviation intensity (air arrivals relative to the number of residents)

-height in airports, cruise ports and UNESCO cultural heritage

The study also highlights destinations that are at risk due to over-tourism …

-15 regions that are not currently recognized as over-tourism destinations were identified as being at high risk.

These regions are Valencia and Canary Islands, Languedoc-Roussillon and Bourgogne in France, Trento of Italy, Madeira and Algarve in Portugal and the Ionian Islands and the Peloponnese.

-5 regions of the United Kingdom are on the list of 15 destinations that are at risk of over-tourism (Cumbria, Cornwall, West Wales and The Valley, East Wales and North Yorkshire).

See the entire report  here .

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