Europe had a gangbusters year for tourism in 2017, with 671 million international arrivals. That was an increase of 8 percent from the year before, and followed several years of much smaller growth.
Parts of the region, of course, have faced significant challenges in recent years that kept visitors away: terror attacks, political instability, financial struggles. But some have also been dealing with the problem of too many tourists, or at least an overwhelming number in one place at the same time. We at Skift call this overtourism, but at least one popular destination isn’t embracing that term.
We tackled these issues with some European tourism leaders at Skift Forum Europe in Berlin recently; this episode of the Skift Podcast features that conversation.
At the event, Europe Editor Patrick Whyte spoke to Jennifer Iduh, head of research and development at the European Travel Commission, and Inga Palsdottir, director of Visit Iceland and Creative Industries at Promote Iceland. They discussed strategies for tourism marketing, the need for destination management, and how the desires of visitors are shifting.
Skift has been reporting extensively on overtourism for more than a year now, examining the impact on places like Iceland, Barcelona, and Amsterdam.
We’ve been writing about the issues associated with massive numbers of tourists, but we have also sought to find solutions. On the latest episode of the Skift Podcast, we offer a conversation about the way destinations can start to address the problems of overtourism.
Our conversation first took the form of a Skift Call.
Here at Skift in Manhattan, the sound of hotel construction is our daily soundtrack.
The city has seen the number of visitors increase 67 percent since 2000 — it topped 60 million last year — and Manhattan alone added 121 hotels since 2010. Brooklyn added 42. Another 15,000 hotel rooms are expected over the next five years, according to travel research firm STR.
Like we did last year for a massive story on Iceland overtourism, we decided to take a look at New York City’s growth in visitors and hotels, the role that gentrification plays, the new ways that visitors are experiencing the city, and what kind of growth is sustainable. Read the New York City story here.
On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about how New York City tourism is changing — and how tourism is changing the city itself. Our guest is Andrew Sheivachman, the Skift reporter who wrote both the Iceland and New York City stories.
Along with Andrew, we’re hearing from some of his interviews with the people who are in the middle of New York City’s tourism scene, including Kathy Duffy, New York market director of public relations for Marriott International; Chris Heywood, senior vice president of global communications at NYC & Company; Kristin Lamoureux, associate dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism; Adele Gutman, vice president of sales, revenue, and marketing at the Library Hotel Collection; Andrew Mason, founder of Detour; and Nick Gray, founder of Museum Hack.
Iceland is in the midst of a tourist boom that has seen visitation increase about 264 percent between 2010 and 2015.
Last year, nearly 1.3 million foreign tourists visited the country, and tourism has become the tiny country’s top industry. But the influx of tourists is also bringing concerns about the environment, infrastructure, housing, and the impact on residents’ quality of life.
Skift sent reporter Andrew Sheivachman to Iceland to explore how this overtourism has affected the country over the last several years. He spent nearly a week interviewing more than a dozen tourism leaders and produced a 12,000-word deep dive on the issue.
On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about how Iceland became a hot tourist spot, the tiny country’s complicated relationship with its visitors, and how the problems of overtourism can be solved.
Along with Andrew, who joins editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson, we’re hearing from some of his interviews with the people who are dealing with the tourism surge, including Grímur Sæmundsson, CEO of the Blue Lagoon spa and chairman of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association; Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, director general of the Icelandic Tourist Board; Sölvi Melax, founder of the car-sharing company Cario; Skúli Mogensen, the CEO of low-cost carrier Wow Air; and Fridrik Palsson, owner of the boutique Hotel Rangá in Hella.