CONCERNS about over-tourism have led to Trafalgar’s global ceo Gavin Tollman coining the term “ice-cream tourism”.
Speaking with Travel Daily this week about the topic, Tollman said the expression refers to the influx of tourists that arrive in ports off “huge cruise ships”.
Citing the experiences of a family friend who operates hotels on Italy’s iconic Amalfi Coast, Tollman said the local regretted being one of the key proponents to encourage cruise lines to the region several years ago.
“He said to me, all that happens is you bring mass population that add nothing except usually buy an ice-cream, and they drop the ice-cream and drop their napkin and that is their entire impact.”
“So you get this huge amount of overcrowding without any positive effect,” Tollman said.
Separately, The Travel Corp exec added recent stats that indicated that of the 32 million travellers that entered Barcelona last year, only 25% stayed in a city hotel.
“When you hear statistics like that you really do understand how if you are a local and you are trying to make a living, having tourists that come but don’t do anything for the local community can be aggravating and frustrating.
“At Trafalgar we want to do the exact opposite,” Tollman said.
He told TD Trafalgar had a three-step solution to counter over-tourism concerns.
Step 1 is direct action, involving “thinking things through with conscious thought and taking preventative measures as to how we can mitigate the impact we have in the places we go”.
“It’s working with locals. It’s taking plastics out of the supply chain. It’s leaving at certain times so you’re not creating traffic.”
Step 2 is dissemination, which incorporates offering travel outside peak times of year and into shoulder and low seasons.
“For tourism to really be seen as a long-term positive influence in communities, it cannot be seasonally driven,” he explained.
And Tollman’s third step is based around visitor dispersal and “removing the bottleneck of visitations of just the places you go and see”.
“For me, getting off the beaten path and connecting with regional communities we visit is hugely positive and a great thing about why we travel.”