Overs & unders: Contrasting destination outcomes during COVID-19

Overs & unders: Contrasting destination outcomes during COVID-19

Places that rely on travel & tourism are located all over the world, in nations at different stages of economic development and often vastly different population sizes. When international travel shuts down it is no wonder then that they have different experiences. Development specialist Jada Lindblom compares two destinations close to her heart in this “Good Tourism” Insight. “GT” Insight Partner Second Look Worldwide invited Dr Lindblom to share her thoughts.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic many discussions of tourism and sustainability tended to involve the topic of overtourism. As international travel became accessible to more people, and as destinations that used to be “off-the-beaten-path” became better known via Instagram, YouTube, and other social media, overtourism became a problem for many more destinations.

In the USA, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a roller coaster ride of visitation highs and lows for many places. While tourism in cities generally decreased, many rural and nature-based destinations experienced greater-than-ever demand from cabin-fevered visitors flocking to trails, beaches, pick-your-own farms, and other outdoor attractions.

For tourism-dependent destinations with no domestic markets to fall back on, however, COVID-19 has produced nothing but a slippery slide.

New Hampshire, USA: Overtourism in places

As I write this in early June 2021 from my home in New Hampshire, our state is gearing up for what is expected to be a very busy tourism season full of opportunity. People from across northeastern USA are eager to enjoy the summer sun on the lakes and in the mountains, reunite with friends and families for gatherings and events, and take advantage of the state’s (currently) less-restrictive masking laws.

Vacancies and availability are difficult to find for campground spots, boat rentals, and hotel rooms. And for smaller towns that have typically not been the centre of tourism activity but have ambitions to grow this side of their economy, visitor spillover from nearby tourist regions may help put them on the map.

A very busy but also a very challenging summer is in store for New Hampshire. While beach and trailhead parking lots are expected to regularly overflow, resorts and other tourism and hospitality businesses report being woefully understaffed due to international worker visa restrictions.

This is an excerpt from an article by Dr Lindblom, originally published on The “Good Tourism” Blog

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