#UNWTO says growth is not the enemy though management of growth is now an issue

INCREASE IN COMMUNITY PROTESTS AGAINST TOURISM WORRY INDUSTRY LEADERS

(Posted 09th November 2017)

Over 60 ministers of tourism and private sector leaders gathered on 07th of November in London for the UNWTO / WTM Ministers’ Summit on ‘overtourism’. Moderated by CNN International’s Max Foster, the Summit concluded on the need for the tourism sector to engage more and better with local communities.

Community engagement, communication, congestion management, adequate planning and product diversification were highlighted as key aspects in dealing with ‘overtourism’.

Dr. Taleb Rifai, the outgoing Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, said when opening the Summit that ‘growth is not the enemy; numbers are not the enemy; the key is to manage the growth sustainably, responsibly and intelligently and use the power of growth to our advantage. We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities. Jobs and charity are not enough – we need to diversify visitors’ activities, reduce seasonality and raise awareness of less busy destinations‘.

Participants agreed on the need to build awareness among communities of the benefits of the sector, improve the use of big data to measure and manage the impact of tourists and tourist flows, and promote the development of tourism experiences that engage and benefit communities directly.

The emergence of new platform tourism services, or the so called sharing-economy, was discussed at length, with participants recognizing that they will continue to expand and need to be understood and managed by destinations on a case-by-case basis.

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