For smaller urban areas, tourism when in high proportions can be a real threat with a devastating  impact on the natural and cultural heritage.

A new policy brief of the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform on Environment and resource efficiency tackles this problem. "Sustainable Tourism: Strategies to counteract overtourism" aspires to offer some solutions to the current challenges of the tourism sector. It illustrates how sustainable tourism brings an added value to the long-term socio-economic development of regions and how it helps them cope with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. It provides valuable insight on how to sustainably manage the natural and cultural heritage through the creation of new itineraries and tourist attractions, sustainable transport, the promotion of less-known destinations and the uptake of innovative solutions for supporting local tourism. Interregional cooperation on counteracting tourism overcrowding can serve to build a more resilient tourism industry in the long run.

The brief highlights in particular the EPICAH project, which seeks to exploit the tourism attraction factor of sustainably managed border areas. This project identified as a good practice a strategy developed by EURE lead partner Eixo Atlantico to avoid the adverse effects of tourism seasonality between Galicia (Spain) and Northern Portugal.

It also features several examples of communications that have been implemented by regions to promote less known tourism destinations - and often smaller cities - and bring people to discover cultural and natural treasures hidden there.

The document concludes with recommendations and key learning to create new sustainable itineraries, build the infrastructure for sustainable tourism, and to adapt sustainable tourism to covid-19 times and beyond.

An inspiration for EURE partners?

Read the policy brief here.

Photo by Elizeu Dias on Unsplash