Tourism is slowly and steadily recovering with the gradual relaxation of COVID-19 standards across the world. Recent reports indicate that flight and hotel bookings have increased steadily, especially to popular tourist destinations in the United States and Europe. The global travel and hospitality industries are finally optimistic about a rapid recovery after suffering the full brunt of tourism abruptly for more than a year. While before COVID, the most popular destinations faced problems of overtourism – degrading environment, pressure on infrastructure, even generating a negative experience for tourists and residents in some cases – last year has witnessed under-tourism, having a considerable impact on the tourist economy. This situation has encouraged industry stakeholders to develop strategies to balance the two extremes in the future. Policy and destination management is therefore gaining ground as a common ground to effectively support the tourism sector.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, some popular destinations around the world had effectively implemented sustainable tourism strategies. Machu Picchu, Peru, is one of the best-documented examples where a time limit, with dedicated slots and no re-entry, was introduced on entry tickets in 2019. The result of this ticketing system Hourly has been a reduction in congestion leading to a better experience for visitors and tourists more evenly distributed throughout the year. Other examples include Dubrovnik in Croatia, limiting the number of cruise ship passengers while promoting the city as an all-season destination. Spain has introduced a new tourist tax and Rome has implemented high penalties to strengthen respect for its ancient monuments. The Louvre Museum in Paris has launched a system of compulsory reservations to improve tourist flows. The Cambodian government has doubled the price of tickets and capped the number of visitors to the central tower of Angkor Wat to reduce the intense flow of tourists.
India has also dabbled in destination management in recent years, but there are very few examples to date. For example, the entrance fee to the Taj Mahal has been sharply increased, with visiting time reduced to three hours in 2019 to protect the monument, and vehicles in the high impact areas of Rohtang Pass have been temporarily restricted. . Several tourist spots in India, especially beach destinations, hill stations and pilgrimage sites, are at risk of falling prey to the negative effects of mass tourism in the future. A few weeks ago, videos and reports of traffic jams on the highway to Himachal Pradesh state went viral, as several tourists drove to hill stations after the restrictions were eased. by COVID-19 in the state. With tourists as well as the hospitality industry keen to get back to normal, perhaps now is a good time for authorities to assess global best practices, establish models based on international guidelines, and implement implement effective destination management strategies to reach as many people as possible. necessary balance between tourism and sustainability.
Additional contributor to this article: Kavya jain, Intern at HVS ANAROCK
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