The white-sandy beaches of Mexico during the cold weather months of November through March.
European cities in the Northern Hemisphere summer months of June, July and August.
Patagonia in the Southern Hemisphere summer.
Ski resorts in their local winter (and more recently, in the summer as well).
The seasonality of travel leaves destinations around the world facing a dangerous dilemma. As flocks of visitors travel during the locale’s high-season, occupancy rates in hotels skyrocket to 100%, trailheads are left without a free parking space, and restaurant reservations are as hard to come by as tickets to a Rolling Stones reunion concert. Yet during the off-season, these same locales are often remain quiet and void of visitors, at times leaving a job-force without work. It is a slippery slope that plagues less-popular and emerging destinations at a severe disadvantage.
Solving seasonality as it relates to tourism may be one of the keys to the sustainable travel equation, especially in developing countries. A responsible visitorship that is equally distributed throughout the calendar year keeps local residents gainfully employed and prevents often overloved cities and landscapes – beaches, hiking trails, rivers, oceans, etc. – from falling into the dangerous reflective pattern of overuse and underuse.
One of the primary goals of Solimar’s work along The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is to utilize the Geotourism methodology to spread the literal and proverbial wealth all year long. Most of the Trail’s communities are summertime destinations that see the heavy majority of visitors between May and October, and the Geotourism platform allows stakeholders to tell stories that promote off-season attractions/events in hopes of welcoming guests during cold-weather months. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience recently hosted an expert seminar featuring Emily Reed from the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance. Click on the video below to watch an intriguing 30-minute crash course in the seasonality of travel. During this seminar, Emily explores the various ways to stretch visitorship throughout the year, the challenges of overtourism, and how the solution to seasonality might lie not with visitors, but instead the destination’s residents and stakeholders themselves.