Conference paper

A conduit for Melburnians, and other tourists, to connect with nature and spectacular scenery is the Great Ocean Road (GOR) – one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. However, with 5.8 million tourists visiting the region in 2016–17 and 8.6 million projected to visit in 2026–27 overtourism is posing a threat to the GOR and the surrounding environment, impacting the region’s ecosystems, infrastructure, culture and the livelihoods of local communities. 

Overtourism has been described as “phenomena that exert an excessive negative impact on citizens’ subjective evaluation of the local quality of life or on the quality of the tourism experience”. It is generally understood as being the by-product of tourism development that exceeds a destination’s carrying capacity. 

With the GOR, demarketing and detourism can be used to combat overtourism. Both approaches seek to educate tourists about adopting alternative modes of behaviour to help overcome the problems brought by overtourism to a region. Demarketing strategies with destinations can include the reduction of marketing, redirecting tourists to other locations, using pricing mechanisms and impeding access. The Dutch Tourism Board now promotes other parts of the Netherlands such as The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht in place of the well-visited Amsterdam to spread tourist load across the country. Sometimes a destination is made inaccessible to tourists to permit ecosystems to recover, such as with Maya Bay on Thailand’s Ko Phi Phi Leh Island. Visitor taxes can be effective pricing mechanisms. Venice is about to employ a visitor tax of €3 for low-season travel and €10 for high-season travel to restrict tourist numbers.


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