Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Overtourism

Posted by Admin on November 26, 2019

Overtourism describes a situation where there are so many tourists visiting an area that it damages the local environment, the attractions, and the tourist experience, thereby diminishing the quality of life for residents as well as visitors.

Undoubtedly there are some who will have a difficult time figuring out how that much tourism could happen, much less be perceived as a negative, but it does happen and it can be a negative.

It has become so much of a concern that the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with its membership of 156 countries, 6 territories, and over 500 affiliate members is actively encouraging tourist destinations implement the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to guard against overtourism happening — or continuing to happen — in their area.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE 1: The roots for the UNWTO go back to 1925 when the first international congress of official tourist organizations was held at The Hague. In 1934, they created the International Union of Official Tourist Publicity Organizations (IUOTPO), and in 1974 the World Tourism Organization was established through the United Nations.

Although the term overtourism was popularized by the Internet travel website Skift in 2018, it was first used in 2002 to describe the dangers of exploitation of natural resources by J.G. Nelson who also wrote about this issue (without using the term overtourism) in 1993 in his paper Tourism and Sustainable Development: Monitoring, Planning, Management published by the University of Waterloo Press.

The term turismofobia appears in the Spanish media in 2017 however overtourism became the expression of choice.

In 2018, the word was added to the Oxford Dictionary as one of its words of the year following a campaign by the Telegraph Travel to have it recognized by the Oxford Dictionary.

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