Do travel agents have the power to help combat overtourism? Ninan Chacko, the CEO of Travel Leaders Group, believes the travel industry at large can play a pivotal role in tackling the issue moving forward.
“Travel advisors play a crucial role in educating travellers about alternative destinations, itineraries or seasons,” said Chacko. “Our goal is to work with our advisors and destination partners to identify those alternatives and be a principal source of that information.”
Since January, the consortia has been working with New York University’s School of Professional Studies on an ongoing project to identify solutions surrounding overtourism and come up with sustainable travel practices.
“Travel Leaders Group plans to take a leading position in finding business solutions to overtourism by working with destinations, supplier partners, and travel advisors to proactively develop alternative itineraries and spread demand, supported by education and awareness programs on how to market, sell and travel responsibly,” he said. “The industry has an opportunity here to lead the conversation on new approaches to tourism.”
In a survey with 15 destination marketing organizations as part of their research, 80% said they had some issues with overtourism and 53% noted they acted to address those issues.
“Our survey found that advisors are looking to recommend suppliers who promote charitable causes and travellers are concerned about lessening their impact and looking to volunteer as part of their vacation. All these findings provide a roadmap of a new way to approach how we recommend and sell travel.”
Some of the top actions included educating travel advisors on less-frequented areas to visit, utilizing shoulder seasons, and working with tour operators to diversify the tourism spread.
For the full story, check out the new issue of Travel Courier Digital.