The World Travel and Tourism Council has produced a study in which overtourism is characterized by five main factors: alienated local residents, overloaded infrastructure, environmental damage, threats to culture and heritage and degraded tourist experiences. In addition, increases in overcrowding, disruptions, housing and food costs, and negative public behaviors are signs of trouble in paradise. Many tourist locations in the USA and around the world are now dealing with these negative effects and being forced to address them. They include national parks all over our country, cities like Sedona, Chicago and San Francisco, as well as Vancouver, Venice, Paris and Amsterdam. How much is enough, Traverse City?
It should come as no surprise that there is growing local concern that unchecked tourism growth here is reaching a serious tipping point. However, with so many stakeholders involved, responsible tourism will be confronted with resistance from various parties, including local and state government, businesses profiting from tourism, tourism boards and convention bureaus. That’s because it’s all about attracting more and more visitors and their money year after year after year. Regardless, it’s time for serious and comprehensive dialogue about changing way we manage tourism. How much is enough, Traverse City?