For moderate tourism
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Theses on the current problems
1. Tourism causes waste, consumes raw materials and energy and additional land consumption as well as landscape sealing.
2. The following are decisive for the "carry capacity" of a location:
- physical capacity: number of tourists that can be accommodated in an area,
- the environmental capacity: number of visitors that can be received without reducing the attractiveness of the place,
- the ecological capacity: number of tourists that can be received without harming the ecology,
- the social carrying capacity: number of tourists without substantial damage to the local culture.
3. If these parameters are exceeded, we must speak of overtourism.
Ideas for possible solutions
- For a CO2-reducing travel strategy:
+ Reducing the number of long-distance trips and focusing more on closer destinations,
+ Instead of short stays, longer stays at tourism destinations,
+ Change of means of transport: instead of airplanes and cars, more bus and train trips, avoidance of cruises,
+ Incentives for tourists to use energy-efficient means of transport.
+ Increased consumption of products and services that cause low CO2 emissions or other emissions.
- For the creation of a global cadastre for tourism destinations with local and temporal maximum occupancy rates.
- Inclusion of external costs in tourism and vacation prices (polluter pays principle)
Tourism has many positive economic and social effects, including the creation of location-based jobs, offer of jobs especially for low-skilled people, direct and induced regional economic effects, development impulses for underdeveloped areas, diversification of the economy for example in purely agricultural areas, preservation of local cultural resources, construction of infrastructure facilities such as wastewater treatment plants, etc. (cf. Strasdas 2017:19f.). However, all these benefits can quickly turn into their opposite if they are overly or unilaterally commercialized: Tourism-specific jobs often pay dumping wages, tourism leads to traffic congestion or overtourism, tourism marginalizes other livelihood sectors, local culture becomes tourist folklore, and the construction of infrastructure projects is limited to the immediate vicinity of tourism facilities.
Before Corona, tourism is the second fastest growing economic sector in the world. Its share in the world social product was 10.4% in 2018 (see Muntschik 2019:10).
Mass tourism is increasingly reaching its limits not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. Rate et al. (2018:5) believe that more and more travelers are looking for holistic models of recreation, i.e. offers that address body, soul and spirit. Instead of "travel consumers" ("consumers"), there are more and more "transumers" ("transumers"), who instead of diversity and diversion seek immersion and personal development. At the same time, tourists are increasingly focusing on digital offers and services. A new type of tourist, he said, is the so-called "prosumer" ("prosumer", Rate et al. 2018:8), who is actively involved in designing the travel product - interactively, proactively, and reactively.
Thus, shielded infrastructure facilities are built that can only be used by tourists* but not by locals. Private beaches of hotels or tourist resorts remain closed to locals, and in some cases they also prevent access for local businesses such as access to the sea, which is vital for fishing (cf. Kirstges 2020:59).
In relation to issues of overtourism, Peeters et al. (2018:26) defined the following benchmarks for desirable levels of tourism:
- Ecological capacity: only as much tourism as will not harm the environment.
- Physical capacity: Tourism projects and recreational activities must not harm the natural-physical environment.
- Socio-perceptive capacity: no tourism that leads to rejection by the inhabitants due to cultural or environmental degradation.
- Economic carrying capacity: tourist activities must not marginalize, excessively compete with or destroy other economic activities.
- Psychological capacity: any overcrowding that locals can no longer handle must be avoided.
In the Mediterranean, tourism was responsible for 52% of all waste in 2017 (cf. Réau and Guibert 2020:3), and in the same year, the 47 ships of Carival Corporation & PLC, which includes Costa Croisières, P&O, Aida Croisières, Priness, Cunard Line, Seaborne, and Holland-America Line, emitted ten times as much sulfur oxides as all of Europe's 260 million passenger cars, although this is not even a quarter of European cruise ships (cf. Réau and Guibert 2020:3 and Transport & Environment 2019:6). Even in the case of so-called "nature tourism," the ecological footprint is in many cases very large - all too often too large.
Overtourism manifests itself on the one hand in physical congestion - too many people in one place at one time without control or regulation of the flow of visitors - and on the other hand in psychological perceptions by residents - the feeling of being constricted or restricted by tourism or tourists (see Visentin and Bertocchi 2019:30). Overtourism can also lead to tourist gentrification of individual neighborhoods or places, such as in Palma de Mallorca through tourist restaurants, hotels, souvenir stores, etc., where up to 12 million visitors arrive annually (cf. Blázquez-Salom et al. 2019:39). Conversely, tourist gentrification forces residents without land or housing ownership to leave centers or localities frequented by tourists.
Well-known hotspots of overtourism include Venice, Mallorca and especially the island capital Palma de Mallorca, the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastian and Madrid, Dubrovnik, Amsterdam, individual districts of Lisbon, Salzburg, Berlin and Hamburg, Hallstatt in the Salzkammergut, and Passau (cf. Kirstges 2020:106ff.).
In 2017, anti-tourism activists launched campaigns against tourism or tourists in various cities, such as Barcelona, Venice, Palma de Mallorca, Amsterdam, Bhutan, and Dubrovnik (cf. Kuščer and Mihalič 2019:4). There were sometimes virulent anti-tourist protests in San Sebastián, Rome, and Dubrovnik, and in some places there were protests against cruise tourists.
In the future, destination cities, as well as tour operators, will find it hard to avoid imposing upward limits on tourist numbers and tourist quotas.
A long-standing problem in tourism - as in other sectors of the economy - is the difficulty that demanders by no means pay all the costs, and that a significant proportion of tourism costs are externalized, i.e. imposed on the general public. This includes most environmental damage - such as global warming due to the emission of greenhouse gases, the waste problem, water consumption at tourist destinations, infrastructure costs, local environmental pollution, and so on. For this reason, it should also be demanded for tourism that the polluters - i.e. the tourists - share all externalized costs. This will make travel considerably more expensive, but in the long term it will probably be unavoidable.
Local occupancy rates are already being calculated in individual places to protect nature, in order to define an optimal tourism density on the one hand and a carrying capacity limit on the other. The size of the population, the required protection of nature and the environment, and also the capacity of the local infrastructure must be taken into account (cf. Newsome et al. 2013:244). Chen et al. (2015:155) have already proposed this for China.
- Blázquez-Salom, Maciá / Blanco-Romero, Asunción / Carbonell, Jaime Gual / Murray, Ivan
2019: Tourist Gentrification of Retail Shops in Palma (Majorca). In: Milano, Claudio / Cheer, Joseph M. / Novelli, Marina (Hrsg.): Overtourism. Excesses, Discontents and Measures in Travel and Tourism. Oxfordshire/Boston: CABI. 39ff.
- Chen, Anze / Lu, Yunting / Ng Young C.Y.
2015: The Principles of Geotourism. Beijing/Heidelberg: Science Press/Springer.
- Cook, Roy A. / Hsu, Cathy H. C. / Taylor, Lorraine L.
2018: Tourism. The Business of Hospitality and Travel. Sixth Edition. London/New York: Pearson.
- Kirstges, Torsten H.
2020: Tourismus in der Kritik. Klimaschädigender Overtourism statt sauberer Industrie? München: UVK Verlag.
- Kuščer, Kir / Mihalič, Tanja
2019: Residents’ Attitudes towards Overtourism from the Perspective of Tourism Impacts and Cooperation – The Case of Ljubljana. In: Sustainability 11/6 (2019) 1823.
- Muntschick, Verena
2019: Überblick: Kontext, Kontrast, Konsequenzen. In: Zukunftsinstitut. Trendstudie: Der neue Resonanz-Tourismus. Herzlich willkommen. Frankfurt/Main: Zukunftsinstitut. 10ff.
- Newsome, David / Moore, Susan A. / Dowling, Ross K.
2013: Natural Area Tourism. Ecology, Impacts and Management. 2 nd Edition. Bristol/Buffalo/Toronto: Channel View Publications.
- Peeters, P., Gössling, S., Klijs, J., Milano, C., Novelli, M., Dijkmans, C., Eijgelaar, E., Hartman, S., Heslinga, J., Isaac, R., Mitas, O., Moretti, S., Nawijn, J., Papp, B. and Postma, A.
2018: Overtourism. Impact and Possible Policy Responses. Research for TRAN Committee. Brussels: European Parliament. Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies.
- Rate, Shirley / Moutinho, Luiz / Ballantyne, Ronnie
2018: The New Business. Environment and Trends in Tourism. In: Moutinho, Luiz / Vargas-Sánchez, Alonso (Hrsg.): Strategic Management in Tourism. 3 rd Edition. Oxfordshire/Boston: Cabi. 1ff.
- Réau, Betrand / Guibert, Christophe
2020: Wie geht guter Tourismus? In: Le Monde Diplomatique (deutschsprachige Ausgabe Schweiz). Juli 2020. 3.
- Strasdas, Wolfgang
2017: Einführung Nachhaltiger Tourismus. In: Rein, Hartmut / Strasdas, Wolfgang (Hrsg.): Nachhaltiger Tourismus. Einführung. 2., überarbeitete Auflage. Konstanz: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft. 13ff.
- Transport & Environment
2019: European Federation for Transport an Environment: One Corporation to Pollute them All. Luxury Cruse Air Emissions in Europe. Brussels: Juni 2013. Link.
- Visentin, Francesco / Bertocchi, Dario
2019: Venice: An Analysis of Tourism Excesses in an Overtourism Icon. In: Milano, Claudio / Cheer, Joseph M. / Novelli, Marina (Hrsg.): Overtourism. Excesses, Discontents and Measures in Travel and Tourism. Oxfordshire/Boston: CABI. 18ff.