Though the pressures created by tourism numbers and growth is a worldwide problem, many innovative examples of how DMOs respond to these issues can be found in Europe. In our webinar, “The State of the American Traveler, Destination Management Edition,” Signe Jungersted, CEO & Founding Partner of Group NAO (and former Director of Development at Wonderful Copenhagen), joined us to share examples of the variety of ways DMOs are responding to the impact of crowding, congestion and other negative social and/or environment impacts of tourism.
1. Don’t Focus on the Obvious.
I Amsterdam has famously announced that they are no longer investing a single Euro into marketing and now are entirely focused on destination management. One visible indication was the removal of one of the “IAmsterdam” signs that were previously outside the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Like other iconic locations worldwide, the sign had become a popular “photo op,” heavily amplified by social media and more notably, Instagram.
Indeed Vienna has tried to counter the influence of social media by stressing that travelers should be independent of “crowd pressure” and form their own opinions and plans of Vienna activities and places to visit.
Takeaway: Iconic, photogenic destinations should be minimized in the marketing and promotion of the DMO, and over reliance on social media “recommendations” challenged. Destinations should instead focus on adding or updating imagery of more remote regions and/or experiences during an off or shoulder season. This ability to improve and share new images and Street View that is visible across Google is one of the benefits of the Google DMO Partnership Program.
- Amsterdam Council Removes "I Amsterdam" Sign after It Becomes Selfie Spot
- We Live Here – Amsterdam Campaign
- Unhashtag Vienna
- Unrating Vienna
- Visitor Economy Strategy, Shaping Vienna
2. Responsible Travelers.
Oslo, Norway, the 2019 European Green Capital, developed an eye catching, controversial campaign to highlight its commitment to helping Oslo move to zero waste. This campaign, and locations for visitors throughout the city, are designed to not only inform visitors (and locals) but also provide a more interactive experience of recycled waste.
More destinations are taking these types of interactive and practical approaches to educate visitors on minimizing their impact on the community and natural environment of a destination. Miles has sponsored the Travel Care Code since 2008 and in recent years, a range of destinations including Palau, Iceland and New Zealand have invested in their own visitor education.
- Oslo Is Rubbish Campaign
- Travel Care Code
- Icelandic Pledge
- Tiaki Promise
- Finland Sustainability Pledge
- Palau Pledge
3. Raising a Hand for Voluntourism.
Visit Faroe Islands is a leader in the growing popularity of voluntourism – visitors spending time on community, arts/heritage or environmental causes. Visit Faroe Islands went a step further – using this voluntourism as a chance to promote and support their commitment to maintain the islands and preserve what is special about their destination.