The New Zealand Tourism board recently launched an excellent marketing campaign titled "Travelling under the social influence" with the aim to tackle over-tourism.
Social media has been a strong tool to get people somewhere, using 'influencers' and the like. We have all seen shots of people on swings in Bali, Santorini dreamy decor, Iceland deserted landscapes etc...
We maybe even thought, "ahh, it looks really great, I must go and visit". But social media strongly contributed to ruining those places. What once was a beautiful spot became a place where people queue, litter and disrupt the life of locals.
Over-tourism is a complex topic impacting the environment, economy, locals, housing, cost of living and businesses.
With the halt of tourism, this past year, cities, destinations and touristic hotspots have had the opportunity to reset and think about better ways to restart.
How can we/you, travellers, can contribute to fighting over-tourism
Be curious and look beyond what is advertised by travel magazines, brands and destinations.
Do proper research and don’t settle for the obvious choice. Let’s go further than researching “Best hotel Mallorca”, “ Top 10 things to do in Amsterdam” or “Where to travel in 2021”. The results of that search will be impacted by clever SEO, marketing campaigns and social media. You will miss real hidden gems.
When it comes to choosing a destination, go for slightly less popular options. Maybe look at second/third cities in a country. They often have as much interesting stuff to offer and fewer crowds.
A few years ago, we travelled to Greece at the start of October. We decided to road trip around the Peloponnese as this was totally unknown to us. We spent 2 weeks staying in stunning B&B's, luxury hotels and large villas for next to nothing, with no one around. The weather was perfect, with the high heat gone. Very surprisingly, the tourists had all disappeared, which left quiet villages and markets. And life rhythmed by locals.
What are the benefits for you?
You will get to discover something new-ish, and that is always a nice feeling.
You will have a more authentic experience with an unspoilt environment and genuine people (think no tourist shops or staged experiences)
You are less likely to be disappointed having had too high expectations. When you scroll through endless amazing photos of Macchu Picchu, your expectations will be so high and therefore probably impossible to meet.
You will save time and money.
So let’s be creative, think outside the box and make better choices that will lead us to unique experiences.
No one likes to be a sheep…🐑