ASATA Col­umn

The lat­est from Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Otto de Vries

Business Traveller (Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Al­though it's not a new phe­nom­e­non, over-tourism has re­ceived a lot of at­ten­tion this year, with pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions and cities across the world flag­ging gen­uine and po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing prob­lems.

Venice is a prime ex­am­ple, with some wor­ry­ing the des­ti­na­tion is sink­ing un­der the weight of its pop­u­lar­ity. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the UK Tele­graph, on Easter Sun­day this year, the Ital­ian city re­ceived 125,000 visi­tors. That's the same to­tal num­ber of tourists that visit en­tire coun­tries, such as Bangladesh, in a whole year.

Des­ti­na­tions are tak­ing dras­tic mea­sures to re-dis­trib­ute vis­i­tor foot­falls and limit traf­fic to pop­u­lar sites. In Europe, Dubrovnik (Croa­tia) has started turn­ing tourists and cruise ships away, Am­s­ter­dam is ban­ning shops aimed at tourists, while Venice mulls over a ban stop­ping peo­ple from car­ry­ing al­co­hol in the streets.

Al­though it may seem the prob­lem of over-tourism fits firmly in the leisure space, cor­po­rate trav­ellers can help to mit­i­gate the prob­lem by tak­ing small steps to­wards a more sus­tain­able travel ex­pe­ri­ence.

Align your­self with ASATA travel brands that strive to main­tain a high level of so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity. Speak to your travel ex­pert on their rec­om­men­da­tions for eco-friendly ac­com­mo­da­tion, sus­tain­able travel ac­tiv­i­ties and des­ti­na­tions where you can con­tribute to con­serv­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

Many des­ti­na­tions have trou­ble man­ag­ing the waste that trav­ellers leave be­hind, so make sure to re­cy­cle. If you are re­cy­cling at home, why not keep it up while you're away on a busi­ness trip? Pack a re­us­able wa­ter bot­tle, avoid tak­ing long show­ers and re-use your ho­tel tow­els.

Be­ing mind­ful of cul­tural sen­si­tiv­i­ties also goes a long way. Cor­po­rate trav­ellers are prob­a­bly sen­si­tive to dif­fer­ent cul­tures in their of­fice, but would they spend time read­ing up on the cul­ture of the lo­cals in your hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion? Talk to col­leagues from the des­ti­na­tion and ask about lo­cal eater­ies, shops and pub­lic trans­port op­tions.

To quote for­mer United Na­tions World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Taleb Ri­fai: “Growth is not the enemy (and) grow­ing num­bers are not the enemy – growth is the eter­nal story of mankind.”

So, by all means, keep trav­el­ling; but re­mem­ber to travel sus­tain­ably, even when you're away for busi­ness. ■ Otto de Vries ASATA CEO

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