12 May Post-covid19 era: Slow and Under-tourism vs. Mass and Over-tourism
In the early 1980s, when the globalization fad had created a liberal context of modernization in all sectors, a group of activists in Italy led by Carlo Petrini, reacted to the prevailing consumer frenzy, and presented the other side of the coin. They questioned the newest eating habits and thus, introduced the concept of slow food in contrast to fast food. Their aim was to support local traditions, food quality, and culinary experiences. During the following years, this new trend became a broader movement, including many kinds of different projects, which were embraced by millions of people in more than 160 countries.
Within this philosophy of low pace of life, the term slow tourism, was launched as the novel travel trend of our century. As reported by Moira et al. (2017) it seems to be the “antidote” to mass tourism, which is linked with a sort of “consumption” of the place, quick images and fleeting impressions, constant clock-watching, and the stress of seeing as many sights as possible within limits of time pressure.
In contrast, slow tourism aims at promoting tourism in areas that are not widely known while relieving the congestion and pressure in places already established on the tourist map. These tourists like to spend ample time at their chosen destination which will allow them to participate in the daily life of the local community; this involves connecting with the people and their culture, feeling the pulse of the nature and tasting the local products. They actually seek to experience and explore the place in an authentic way.
Likewise, the terms overtourism and undertourism have recently aroused.
Over-tourism is defined by tourist overcrowd in widely known areas, mainly during periods of high demand (high season). This type of tourism diminishes the quality of life of the local community while visitors are unable to enjoy the place due to the excessive number of incoming tourists.
On the other hand, under-tourism emerges in less known destinations which are often close to places receiving a large number of visitors. Those tourists have a preference for tailor-made services in hidden parts of a region and look for experiential experiences that reveal the unique feeling of each destination.
Let’s make the post-covid19 period an opportunity for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly behavior; a real motivation to learn how to seek journeys that few are lucky to experience!
- Moira, P., Mylonopoulos, D. &Kondoudaki, E. (2017). The Application of Slow Movement to Tourism: Is Slow Tourism a New Paradigm? Journal of Tourism and Leisure Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2.