Travel Leaders launches overtourism initiative

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. — Travel Leaders Group has introduced
an initiative to study and address overtourism, CEO Ninan Chacko said during a
media briefing at the Travel Leaders Network EDGE conference here.

Chacko said Travel Leaders Group has partnered with New York
University’s School of Professional Studies to research overtourism. Graduate
students started working on the initiative in January and have created an index
that destinations can use to see if they might face overtourism issues. It
takes into account economic factors, accommodation capacity and environmental
concerns.

Travel Leaders Group also surveyed destination marketing
companies, finding 80% have had issues with overtourism, and just over half,
53%, have acted to address the issues. That action, Travel Leaders Group said,
has included educating travel advisors on less popular destinations or seasons.

The company also surveyed agents, finding that the vast
majority (82%) believe the industry should be proactive in addressing
overtourism. Most (77%) support popular attractions limiting the number of
visitors during busy times, and half support fees as a way to control crowds. 

Chacko said this marks the beginning of Travel Leaders’ work
on addressing overtourism. He likened it to early innings in a long game. The
company has already started working with destinations to craft itineraries that
highlight destinations and regions that aren’t as crowded. 

He also said Travel Leaders Group will work to educate its
advisors on overtourism and how to help reduce overtourism and its negative
effects.

“We join the DMOs in their belief that travel advisors
play a crucial role in educating travelers about alternative destinations,
itineraries or seasons,” Chacko said in a statement. “Our goal is to
work with our advisors and destination partners to identify those alternatives
and be a principal source of that information.”

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