Asunción Fernández-Villarán is Professor of Tourism at the University of Deusto. She is author of Diseñando experiencias sostenibles en turismo.
Marina Abad-Galzacorta is Professor of Tourism at the University of Deusto. She is author of Diseñando experiencias sostenibles en turismo.
This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.
The tourism model based on attracting as many visitors as possible, which has been fundamental to the development and growth of most tourist destinations, needs to be restructured. Mass tourism causes numerous problems that have not yet been solved by the tourism industry. In Spain, for example, the indiscriminate arrival of tourists —as is the case with the arrival of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, in particular— which causes the local population to double or even triple in the summer months, binge tourism to many enclaves on the Mediterranean coast, intense cruise ship tourism, overcrowding in some national parks, and incivility in rural areas, among others, cause major problems, including friction with the local population, waste management and local services, and environmental degradation.
During the months of the pandemic, when travel restrictions were tightened, there seemed to be a move towards more sustainable travel: this was indicated by the contents of the many international forums held during this time and the findings of numerous studies and market research on the behaviour of future travellers. According to a study carried out by Booking.com before the pandemic1, 71% of travellers considered in 2019 that the supply of sustainable travel should be greater than the existing supply. And the “Sustainable Travel Report 2021”2, conducted by the same company, revealed that the pandemic had encouraged travellers to be more committed to sustainable travel. The tourism sector, from the supply side, has also been adapting to this new perspective, for example, by exponentially generating digital content —virtual experiences linked to wineries, museums and other segments of the cultural industry— and to the new context in which it operates, for example, by adopting co-opetition3 to face the competition offered by the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICT).
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A conversation with Muriel Poisson
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