Published on : Thursday, January 4, 2018
The WTTC report, produced in concurrence with McKinsey & Company, analyzed the effect of “overcrowding”, “overtourism” and “tourismphobia” on 68 destinations around the world. The report said that popular tourism spots should know their situations, identify early warning signs and plan accordingly.
The report identified five types of problems created by overcrowding in general – alienation of local residents; constrained infrastructure; diminished tourist experience; damage to natural resources and a threat to cultural heritage.
Cape Town was placed in the bottom 20% of the cities analyzed concerning the risk of overcrowding leading to negative tourist experiences, while Durban was among the top 40%.
Cape Town is seen as having a medium risk level of overcrowding leading to overloaded infrastructure due to seasonality.
Although the risk of overloading infrastructure due to arrival seasonality was found to be low in Durban, the risk of infrastructure overload due to attraction concentration was found to be very high. In both Cape Town and Durban the risk of overcrowding impacting culture and heritage was found to be low.
Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of the WTTC said that some destinations with a significant share of the travel and tourism pie may be threatened by their own popularity. The threat can be in environmental, social or aesthetic terms.
As for solutions for overcrowding, it includes smoothing visitor numbers over time; spreading visitors across sites; adjusting pricing to balance supply and demand; regulating accommodation supply; and limiting access and activities.
“Tourism creates jobs and economic growth. In 2017 travel and tourism will contribute nearly $7.9trn to the global economy. One billion more people will be in the global middle class by 2030 and with travel becoming ever more accessible, our sector will continue to grow,” said Guevara.
WTTC research found that the challenges associated with overcrowding are real and cannot be solved with a uniform approach.