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Wednesday, 07 August 2019 10:58

Overtourism or Overhyped?

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You have trained for years. You have bought the equipment and the tickets, trekked through the elements and climbed beyond where you thought you ever could… and now you are queuing for your moment at the top of the world. By the time you reach the peak of the mountain, your perma-frosted face is glued into a grimace that only a mother could love, but you’re not going to miss the chance to post this on Instagram. Only the 300th Everest summit selfie that day. #winning…

The world is a big place but with lower cost air travel and the popularisation of bucket lists, we are congregating ever more densely in certain areas in a phenomenon known as “Over-tourism”. Only a decade ago, this was an unknown concept to most. Long haul holidays were few and far between and still considered to be “trips of a lifetime” but that is no longer the case. Through celebrity endorsement, targeted marketing or just through word of mouth, there are parts of the world that receive so much attention, that they become flooded on a regular basis with tourist footfall which has the potential to damage the environment or the culture of those living there. This can lead to conflict between the locals and visitors and in some places around the world, has led to an exodus of the inhabitants who leave the location to the tourist population, having been ignored and downtrodden by local governments who prize the finances brought in by tourism.

So, what can we do? Retreat to our own borders and suppress our collective wanderlust until it subsides? Well we don’t need to be quite so dramatic as there are three simple approaches that could drastically improve the conditions at these beleaguered destinations while quenching our thirst for new experiences.
1. Travel beyond the iconic – Do you really need to visit the same views and wonders of the world as everyone else? Wouldn’t it be better to carve out a memory of your own and travel beyond the iconic? We think so and work with our clients to find them a new and exciting perspective so that their holiday is theirs and theirs alone.
Archer & Gaher Adventures - Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls
2. Go out of season – The image above shows how Victoria Falls flows and ebbs throughout the year. Every destination has a peak season and if you speak to someone who knows, you can get access to the big-ticket names without the crowds (and the prices will drop too). Destinations such as the Falls are on bucket lists for a reason, but if you travel smart then you can make the most of your time while still being considerate.
3. Travel, Enjoy, Respect – This is a mantra that we should adhere to wherever we travel. Firstly, we should respect those who live there, their rules, their property and their routines. As someone who has lived in two capital cities, I can attest to the annoyance of tourists cramming onto my commuter route in the morning. Which is why we should always remember that while we are on holiday, not everyone is and that mutual respect will only enhance our travel experiences. We also need to respect the place that we’re visiting; the environment and heritage which infuses a destination with life for us and for future generations. Try the food, pick up a few words of the language; I promise you that your experience will be richer for it.

Leave only footprints and take only memories. Anon

But how can you know all this without making every trip an in-depth research project? You just want a holiday, right? Well, this ties-in to the many advantages of booking with a tour operator in our previous blog “7 Reasons to Book a Bespoke Adventure”. We’ve done the research; we’ve walked the paths less trodden and have partners in all the right locations to create something truly special. The only ingredient we need it you. Talk to us today about how to travel sustainably and how to get involved with local initiatives that share your passions. Create those connections and your holiday can last much longer than the two weeks you’re away from home; it’ll be the trip of a lifetime.
More in this category: « No More Plastic Please

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