Sub-Tourism: An Alternative to Addressing the Challenges of Mass Tourism
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, and its growth has been steady in recent years. According to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in 2019, an estimated 1.465 billion international trips were made, marking a milestone in the industry’s history. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 represented an unprecedented setback for the sector. With grounded airplanes, closed hotels, and travel restrictions worldwide, the number of trips plummeted dramatically to 406.98 million.
Despite the challenges faced by the industry, UNWTO reported that by 2022, approximately 962.80 million trips were recorded worldwide, demonstrating astonishing growth of 136.95% compared to 2020. These figures underscore the sector’s resilience and adaptability, prompting questions about how we can maintain a balance between this rapid growth and sustainability.
One of the most pressing challenges of mass tourism is its impact on the environment and local communities. The overexploitation of tourist destinations can deplete natural resources and disrupt the daily lives of host populations. In response, UNWTO has acknowledged these issues and promotes sustainable tourism as a solution. This involves adopting environmentally friendly practices and fostering healthy cultural interaction.
In this context, the concept of “sub-tourism” emerges as an alternative. It involves seeking more authentic and less crowded travel experiences, exploring lesser-known destinations, and supporting local communities. This trend reflects a growing awareness of the negative impacts of mass tourism and the pursuit of more meaningful journeys.
In conclusion, tourism is an industry in constant evolution. Despite the challenges it has faced, its capacity for adaptation and growth is impressive. Therefore, it is essential that we address sustainability issues and find new ways to travel that benefit both travelers and the planet, as well as local communities. Sub-tourism emerges as a promising alternative to achieve this balance.