Mabrian & Phocuswright list 7 ways to check overtourism

Exploring role of sustainability to combat mass tourism
2024-05-28
/
/ New Delhi
Mabrian & Phocuswright list 7 ways to check overtourism
Mabrian & Phocuswright list 7 ways to check overtourism

Between half and two-thirds of travellers want their spending to support the communities they visit

Travel intelligence firm Mabrian, in collaboration with Phocuswright, has published a report that delves into the seven roles of sustainable tourism in overcoming mass tourism.
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Addressing overtourism is crucial, with 61 pc of travellers avoiding destinations due to it in the past year, says a new study, published by Mabrian Technologies, in collaboration with Phocuswright.

According to data by Mabrian Technologies, a global travel intelligence services firm, destinations should use a holistic, data-led approach to balance local resources, community welfare and tourism growth. 

This is one of the conclusions of the white paper, A Roadmap to Move Destinations Away from Overtourism, developed by Mabrian in collaboration with Phocuswright.

The statement adds that this white paper uses data intelligence from Mabrian and Phocuswright’s studies to explore how various dimensions of sustainability translate into useful indicators for destination planning.

Finding the balance: from measuring to policy making 

The data says that seven indicators proposed interact with each other, and can be implemented to different sets of goals, depending on the specific conditions of each destination. 

Distribution of Tourist Spend: Besides measuring spending per visitor and category, is vital to understand how it is distributed. A destination less affected by overtourism tends to have a more evenly spread distribution of spending across its territory, which benefits both its economy and local welfare. This was exemplified by Lanzarote’s Cabildo and Tourism Board, who tracked the distribution of spending during the 2023 Saborea Lanzarote festival and found that tickets in restaurants and other gastro experiences increased year over year, reaching 37 pc of the island’s total average tourism spending. 

Mabrian says that it is about capitalising on travellers’ preferences, as research from Phocuswright indicates that between half and two-thirds of travellers want their spending to support the communities they visit.

Carbon Footprint: Reducing CO2 emissions is crucial for minimising the environmental impact of travel, especially since air transportation accounts for 55 pc of the tourism sector’s carbon footprint, says Travel Foundation Report. 

Analysing CO2 emissions over time per source market and visitor, as well as the ratio of travellers’ spending to emissions generated, can help destinations target segments with better spending-to-emissions ratios. 

The statement adds that Turespaña implemented such strategies and, by 2023, achieved a 4.9 pc reduction in the carbon footprint per visitor to Spain and a 5.1 pc increase in tourism income per traveller.

Concentration of Tourism Offer: Density and human pressure are commonly associated with overtourism rather than sustainability, but there’s a disparity in travellers’ perception. 

According to Phocuswright data, while 43-61 pc of travellers avoided destinations in the past year due to sustainability concerns, only 13-21 pc see visiting less crowded destinations as sustainable. Understanding the clustering of accommodations and attractions is crucial for both traveller comfort and community welfare.  

Mabrian and Phocuswright analysis cites the case of Costa Rica’s Tamarindo region DMO, that utilised data intelligence to map accommodation density, resulting in a 16 pc decrease over five years and significant improvements in Hotel and Destination Satisfaction Indexes.

Sustainability dissonance is the gap between the intention to travel sustainably and actual traveller choices

 

Perception of Tourism Sustainability: An effective sustainable approach to overtourism involves aligning policy-making with its impact on both locals and visitors to mitigate what Phocuswright terms as “sustainability dissonance,” the gap between the intention to travel sustainably and actual traveller choices. 

Targeted messaging and engagement strategies play a central role in shaping perceptions of tourism sustainability, as demonstrated by Seville’s “Smart Streets” campaign, deployed by Sevilla City Office. This initiative highlighted the city’s sustainable achievements, enhancing the experience for both locals and visitors. Consequently, Seville saw a year-on-year increase of 6 points in its Sustainability Perception Index, reaching 70 out of 100, over 7 points higher than Spain’s national average.

Besides keeping on sight policies to measure and beat seasonality, the white paper also proposes to carry out strategies to broaden motivational diversification and reduce dependency on origins, relying on a varied selection of activities, attractions and tourism products. 

Carlos Cendra

Carlos Cendra

This contributes to lower density areas and less seasonal demand, as well as developing, alternative, more evenly distributed experiences throughout the territory and the year, the statement adds.

“A successful, consistent sustainable strategy involves formulating good practices but operationalizing them expediently.” Implementing effective measures against overtourism entails “having a transparent, honest and data-centric approach of the impact of tourism on destinations, based on a holistic model able to create a long-standing balance that benefits the businesses, locals and visitors alike while preserving the environment,”  says Carlos Cendra, Partner and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mabrian.

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