What is overtourism in protected areas and what can we do about it?


Rising visitor use levels in tourism destinations over the last several years have caught residents and managers off-guard, leading to potentially significant social and biophysical impacts. This condition has been termed “overtourism”, but has been previously known by other terms such as “over use” and “over crowded.” Concern about this situation has a long history in protected area management. Regardless of the term, the concerns about impacts have legitimate foundations. Resolving this problem will require a better understanding of it first, before proposing simplified solutions.

As a collaboration between the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist GroupEcotourism GenuinoPUP Global Heritage Consortium and the 10 YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme, a webinar was held on 3 November 2017 on the topic of ‘Overtourism in protected areas’. The webinar  was designed to build awareness of the challenges of high levels of visitor use in protected areas, review what has lead to this challenge, and to suggest a way forward.

Moderator: Dr. Anna Spenceley (IUCN WCPA TAPAS Group), Mr. Allan Rhodes Espinoza (Ecoturismo Genuino)

Speakers: Mr. Jon Kohl (PUP Global Heritage Consortium), Dr. Stephen McCool (University of Montana)

Participants: 131 (77 women, 54 men)

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