The surge in domestic tourism following COVID-19 has not curtailed as holiday-makers turn to staycations over international travel. This domestic tourism, which was once a knight in shining armor met with gratitude by residents in European hot spots, is now a cause for despair as they see the all-too-familiar scenes of overtourism, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “There has been a steep fall in demand for international trips this summer due to fears of cancellation, disease transmission and quarantine measures upon return. According to GlobalData figures, international departures from Europe’s G7 countries* are expected to drop by 40% in 2020, which is a much steeper decline than domestic trips at 25%. This difference indicates that many would-be international travelers are now opting to travel domestically instead.
“The main issue with this trend is that domestic travel offers less choice, so everyone just goes to the same destinations. This situation is currently occurring in the UK in locations such as Cornwall and Snowdonia”.
Tourism development has created both positive and negative impacts on communities. Cynics could now be at tipping point due to the current situation around COVID-19. For example, seaside destinations tend to consist of ageing populations that have had to take quarantine measures more seriously than their younger counterparts. A surge in visitation from a mix of domestic travelers will be likely to decrease the confidence of older residents, forcing them back indoors due to fears over disease transmission, created by a lack of social distancing because of overtourism.
Hollister adds: “Domestic hotspots have also seen heavily littered beaches and anti-social behavior. However, unfortunately for disillusioned residents, tourism is a necessary evil and reductions in numbers cause detrimental impacts on local economies – as seen during the peak of COVID-19. Proactive management strategies need to be implemented whereby the economic benefits of tourism are yielded, without having to allow the negative environmental and social impacts a sustained increase in tourism can bring.”