Colosseum_Rome

Last week a number of senior Executives and industry experts travelled to Rome to attend ConnectTalk Rome where they meet to discuss a number of pressing industry issues including Overtourism and finding ways to build a better-connected journey for luxury travelers. The one-day event, supported by Turespaña and hosted in Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie, took place in the form of open-floor panel discussions followed by networking opportunities.

The panel discussion and the following discussion session with buyers brought up a few ideas from the buyers on how to tackle the Overtourism.  Meeting, event and incentive buyers, for example, emphasized that honest communication with DMCs about the busyness of popular locations is essential. It’s also important to know how crowded destinations are at different points throughout the year – and whether what they experience during a site visit is a true reflection of how crowded a destination will be during an event several months later.

Buyers shared their strategies for hosting events and incentives in destinations that experience overtourism – such as finding ways to spread delegates out within a city, or host events in interesting destinations outside the city centre. Some suggested considering “secondary cities” over tourist hotspots, as this allows for more exclusive use of venues and spaces.

Overtourism has been a hot topic this year, with Spanish cities being among the most active in the backlash. Jorge Rubio, director of Turespaña, shared the nation’s strategies for tackling overtourism – mentioning Palma’s ban on holiday private rentals, and Barcelona’s ban on segway tours. He also described how Spain is focusing its marketing efforts on attracting the right kind of traveller, taking a “quality over quantity” approach, and targeting culturally-minded travellers who spend more and engage more with Spain’s art, history, and cuisine.