When we travel, we want to feel like we have the places and its landscapes to ourselves. But crowds are not only a turn-off but also harmful to the gorgeous scenes we seek, being damaged by the sheer volume of footfall. Our Editorial Executive Rhodri delves a bit deeper into what exactly overtourism means and how can you travel more mindfully…
What is overtourism?
In its simplest form, overtourism is when there’s too many visitors at a destination. Obviously the very notion ‘too many’ can be quite subjective but when there’s such a crowd that you can’t see the landmarks you came for, or the fragile environments you’re spending time in are being damaged by hordes of people, it’s safe to say this is too many. It’s becoming more a common occurrence, with more and more of us becoming more comfortable to travel further and more frequently, meaning many places are becoming overwhelmed.
How can you travel sustainably?
There are plenty of ways you can help relieve the pressure of places creaking under the weight of the crowds…
Try off-the-beaten-track destinations
One of the best ways is to go other people aren’t. At Turquoise Holidays, we try and take you to places that few others roam, hand-picking boutique hotels and smaller resorts so it’s both less of a stress on the environment and a far more enjoyable experience for you. Choosing destinations that are less familiar can be more rewarding, too. Laos is an up-and-coming destination in South-East Asia, rarely treaded by many travellers but hides a fine display of old-world Asia that the rest of the continent has largely forgotten. Elsewhere, the gorgeous Riviera Maya can make for a far more pleasant retreat than its more popular neighbour, Cancún in Mexico and Oman is a Middle East gem that is yet to register on most people’s radars.
Visit out of season
If you still want to visit some of the more popular destinations, then it’s still not a problem. But maybe try and consider visiting out of peak season. While you might arguably miss out on the best weather windows, you’ll also dodge the crowds, too. Plus, the weather in the off-season is often not as bad as you think. Take the Caribbean for example – many visitors steer clear of the summer hurricane season, but many islands like Grenada and Jamaica escape a lot of the storms and brief rain showers are likely the worst you’ll be hit with, still leaving plenty of sunshine hours.
Stay in eco-friendly hotels
Another way to travel responsibly is to pretend like you were never there. More hotels are employing a keener focus on eco-initiatives to help lower footprints and it’s an issue that is becoming closer to travellers’ hearts, too. Brands such as Six Senses are transforming every aspect of their business to become greener, looking at everything from wildlife conservation to developing a self-sustainable way of living through growing their own food and generating their own power. It’s worth doing some research before you book, or speak to one of our Turquoise specialists, to find out more about what sustainable initiatives our partner hotels are doing in the destinations you’re thinking of visiting.