“Overturism means overburdening certain areas with visitors. Seasonality plays a role here, as visitors’ arrivals are concentrated only until a certain time, “explains Martin Šauer from the Faculty of Economics and Administration at Masaryk University, who has been dealing with the issue for a long time.
This not only affects the environment, but often also the local one. According to Šauer, it is scientifically proven that travelers behave differently on vacation than at home and do things they would never do at home. But locals may be bothered by other things than group parties at hotel restaurants.
“At first glance, these may be small things that can bother local residents. When I was in Girona, Spain, the locals were bothered by the tourists because they pulled suitcases along the cobblestones early on the way to the airport, which made quite a lot of noise, ”says one example of Šauer.
In the Czech Republic, it is possible to mention Prague, Český Krumlov or the area of South Moravia as an area affected by mass tourism. “Adrspach and raids by Polish visitors during their holidays are also cited as examples. Problems can also be observed in national parks, such as the Giant Mountains or Šumava, “says Šauer. Small villages, such as Holašovice and Karlštejn, also suffer from mass tourism.
But it is not possible to determine the limit when the number of visitors to the city or the given area has exceeded the tolerable limit and it is necessary to intervene. “Whether a thousand overnight stays are many or not, no one can judge. Time and space play an important role. The load is not continuous throughout the year, it is often concentrated in selected time periods, “recalls Šauer.
The solution is not easy
Therefore, solving the problem of mass tourism is not easy at all.
“Destination proceedings can be a starting point. It is the application of techniques and tools in the planning and organization of tourism in the area. These activities are usually provided by destination companies that represent local tourism actors. They can use soft marketing tools and try to attract tourists to places other than the well-established ones. For example, CzechTourism no longer promotes Prague as a hundred-towered, but is also looking for topics that are hidden at first sight, ”says Šauer.
But even that has its limits, he said. “Every visitor who comes to the capital has an idea of what he wants to see. Such stereotypes are really hard to change. If someone is coming to Prague for the first time, they want to see Charles Bridge and Old Town Square, “says Šauer.
The second way to fight mass tourism is tough economic measures, such as the introduction of an entrance fee or an increase in parking fees.
An example of a city that has responded to a large number of tourists is Venice. Those with the arrival of the tourist season will launch the reservation system. Those who make a reservation will have priority, for example, at museum box offices or when buying public transport tickets. In the meantime, it will be a trial operation.
Mandatory reservations should be made next year. The city has also been preparing to collect entrance fees since the summer of 2023. Prices for one-day entry into the city will vary depending on how busy the day people are going to the city.
Passengers who arrange accommodation in the city and spend at least one night there will not pay for entry. The city wants to avoid tourists who go to Venice so-called “turn around” and do not spend much money.
Crowds of tourists return to Venice after the pandemic. (April 21, 2022)
A far more valuable tourist is the one who will spend more time in the area. The Broumov region, for example, is trying to attract visitors to longer trips in the Czech Republic, especially in the winter season.
“The tourism we are trying to develop draws people more into local life. It’s rewarding for both parties. For those who come, as well as for us who live here, “explains Jan Školník, founder of the Broumov Development Agency. He does not speak of the arrivals as tourists, but as “temporary residents.”
They can work in the coworking center in the morning and go for culture in the afternoon. “We are adjusting the cultural offer so that people can go there even after work,” says Školník.
Coworking center in Broumov
They launched the initiative two years ago. “We met with success this winter. We managed to get a lot of people to us. Some came here for a month, but most of them were weekly or fortnightly stays, “says Školník.
Martin Šauer from Masaryk University describes the Broumov region as an example of good practice. According to him, it is always important for the locals to clarify what they really want.
“Nothing is black and white and tourism brings both positives and negatives. Locals should clarify what they want to have, who they want to be, and whether they can lose or strengthen their identity by having some foreign element in the form of tourism. And tourism can, among other things, significantly help the area, ”concludes Šauer.