When we overfish the sea, fish disappear. When we have "overtourism" - we have even more tourists

We can be used by tourism or we can use tourism.

Author  Goran Rihelj

19. June 2024.

Interestingly, when we have excessive fishing in the sea, fish disappear, but when we have too many tourists - overtourism, we have the opposite effect - even more tourists.

But if we draw a parallel, tourism is like sustainable fishing.

How fishermen who live from the sea, must become guardians of the sea by preserving this source of life, both for themselves and for all future generations - also through the prism of tourism, local population / destinations must protect themselves from destroying themselves. Because destinations deal with tourism development, not someone X.

The responsibility always lies with the destinations themselves and the local population.

The fishing and tourism industries have the same problem, as well as the solution. Although the negative consequences are more visible and obvious in the fishing industry, because when there are no fish - the whole industry stops. In tourism, on the other hand, we don't see, i.e. we don't want to see, short-term negative consequences, at least we don't pay attention to them, because capital is still coming, but when the bubble bursts, the recovery will take much, much longer.

If we go one step further. As we can see from practice, the fish stock recovers relatively quickly - nature always recovers if we give it a chance and help a little, while destinations have a hard time recovering because they have lost mostly human capital. 

Here we can draw parallels with the general economic situation in the states. Some countries are growing and developing, others are always where they are and have a hard time keeping up, while others are constantly at the bottom. Or even better and more clearly with the situation regarding emigration: how Croatia can return citizens to Croatia and our economy. How and when? In how much time with the best intention and solutions?

There is no quick and easy solution. Also through the prism of tourism. If we "destroy" life and evict the local population, we have no labor force, no life outside of tourism, no young people, no immigration because getting an apartment is an impossible mission, no production, no education, no or fewer basic facilities for the local population that make city ​​... we need fewer and fewer kindergartens, and more and more dormitories for tourists. 

New project 91

But let's get back to the topic. The trick is to find that sustainable environment. 

That there are enough tourists so that they do not destroy the space and all other resources, that we have a high level of guest experience and experience, satisfied local residents, that we use local resources in all supply chains, that we use local labor ... everything in measure to be sustainable. We cannot, as we are currently doing figuratively, fill 1 liters in 5 liter water bottle. There is overflow and flooding. 

If we only have more tourists and the opposite of the above - then we cannot talk about sustainable tourism. We cannot talk about successful tourism, let alone sustainable.

And surely at some point there will be a shooting. In Croatia, we have been suffering for a long time: from the labor force, emigration, the lack of added value of tourism, the collapse of the main resource - space, both visually and spatially, the loss of the culture of life and customs....

And perhaps the biggest lesson. Yes, this means that we cannot live on tourism alone. We can't put everything in just one basket. Not for sure through basic tourism selling beds, sun and sea. 

In the whole story, we must be aware that the problem is not the tourists, the problem is the destinations. The problem is in management. Let me repeat once more: the problem is not tourists, but bad management.

We always have a choice. We as a destination develop and plan tourism. Not someone else. 

"We can be used by tourism or we can use tourism."

or translated (the message is clearer in English) tourism can use us as a destination or we can use tourism to make a better place for the local population.

We must manage tourism to benefit from it. Management is the key.

Photo: Julia Volk, Cameron Casey / Pexels.com / Illustration hrturism

Author  Goran Rihelj

19. June 2024.