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Published on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A world beyond tourism


If destinations don't step up to the plate then they will be usurped $trillions are up for grabs

Recent articles have highlighted the issues with overcrowded destinations like Venice, Florence and Amsterdam see: Toxic Tourism incites city guerrillas

The marketing hype that customers are being sold is not being delivered see: Overcrowded destinations on the road to ruin with lowest ratings

The recent paper by Professor Stefan Gossling and Paul Peeters clearly shows that we are running out of emission possibilities and running out of time see: Tourism appetite too great for world resources

The global tourism industry has clearly reached capacity on high-level destinations and is affecting the lives of local people. Moreover destinations which could really benefit from tourism and have much to offer are being missed out by an industry, now largely run on algorhythms.

We are getting to the time that the global travel industry will be run mainly for the benefit of a small coterie of shareholders who own the delivery networks - ( $62bn Priceline, $13bn Expedia, $12bn Tripadvisor, $10bn Airbnb, who skim off massive percentages on hotel and B&B bookings and are rapidly moving into restaurants, tourism attractions and local guide services). These entities have no investment in, or commitment to, the physical tourism assets in destinations, or the people involved.

Not only are destination communities bearing the brunt of the tourism hordes, but also they are getting a pittance (if anything) in return. Destination communities are seeing economic benefits that they create taken by others who have no skin in the game.

Of course the solution is green, sustainable, responsible tourism, isn't it? Well that's what we've all been saying for the past 20+ years. Probably this is why greenwash and green-lite is now so rampant (the greenwash report is now available here for just £10 l ) and a thoughtful approach to tourism being lost.

But there is another way: In a world beyond tourism, destinations could take control of their visitor economy and get the benefits for their communities. There is a lot of money at stake - over a trillion dollars in the global tourism pot this year alone - and this could represent lots of business and lots of jobs and lots of other good things.

Clearly the key is destination branding - integrating all of a destination's assets and bringing them all under one marketing and development umbrella to strengthen the visitor offer and make sure that the benefits go to local people - local people who vote, and who create the visitor offer that visitors want to visit.

A destination branding initiative can take all forms, of course. The Best of Romagna (click here to get a free download of the current publication ) project has been created by TotemTourism and it shows what can be done in terms of destination branding. It is likely that this format will be offered both to local entrepreneurs, local social organizations and local destinations.

And it is a response to the other urgent need in world tourism - making a wider range of destinations visible so that the crowds in top level destinations diminish, tourism gets spread more evenly, and visitors and residents get better visits.

Interested in moving to a sane world beyond tourism?

Start by visiting and 'liking'

Download previous editions of Best of Romagna at

And get a free copy of the next edition due out shortly by subscribing free. 

If you want to move your own destination to a world beyond tourism contact [email protected]


Valere Tjolle



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