Booking hell – can apps deliver a solution to sustainable tourism troubles?
As famous cities and locations around the world continue to bear the brunt of record visitor numbers, travel insurance technologist Aquarium Software says specialist technology has an essential role to play in managing the impact of mass tourism and delivering sustainable solutions.
Maya Beach on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, featured in the film The Beach, has been forced to close for four months from June in a bid to halt damage caused by mass tourism; meanwhile, Venice has put up barriers in certain areas to try and manage mass ‘invasions’ of tourists.
With the number of visitors expected to double to two billion over the next decade in Europe alone, problems caused by mass tourism are not going away and Aquarium argues that technology is the key, to both unlocking the full potential of tourism and delivering the sustainable model everyone wants to see - if overcrowding at the world’s most popular sites is to be successfully addressed.
“The whole travel industry has a role to play in addressing toxic tourism,” said Aquarium Software Director, Mark Colonnese.
“Barriers and temporary closures are not long-term solutions.
Mass tourism has the power to destroy the things we love, so it is in all our interests to deliver a sustainable model.
Co-operation between insurers, tourists, hotels, airlines and travel agents is vital if we are to encourage people to stagger visits and avoid peak periods.
We should collectively look to promote those thousands of hidden gems and off-the-beaten-track haunts that would welcome – and could easily cope with - more visitors.”
For sustainable tourism to have any hope of success, consumers need the right information.
Technology has a key role to play here by working in partnership with other stakeholders, apps can be deployed to deliver the joined up thinking necessary to assess appropriate visitor numbers and where necessary, take steps to sensibly limit them.
“With so many insuring online, it is easy now to pass key information direct to smartphones on destinations prior to departure,” added Colonnese.
“From the heights of Everest to the canals of Venice, from Machu Picchu to iconic beaches, global problems need global tech solutions.
Geo location can help in the battle to preserve world heritage sites and if people do switch destinations, software allows policies to be amended literally on the fly, responding to changing circumstances,” concluded Colonnese.