Jenna Stirland

Senior account manager, Puls 1 Communications, Dubai

On overtourism: I didn’t know [overtourism] was a pressing issue, but it makes sense when you think about cities such as London and Bangkok. It is sad when you see first-hand the effect mindless tourism is having on our beautiful planet.”

Would I choose a less popular destination? “Absolutely!”

Being a responsible traveller: “I always research the tourist attractions I visit. Last year, although we were on Phi Phi Island [in Thailand], we decided not to visit the famous Maya Bay where the movie The Beach was filmed. It was actually closing to recover from excessive tourism. The Philippines is an amazing place to visit. It opens your eyes to the importance of [responsible travel]. They encourage you to carry glass bottles instead of plastic, they are always picking up rubbish from the land and the sea and educating tourists about how important this act is.”

Is it time to redefine tourism? “[Tourism] needs to contain more education chatter around it. I read something recently that asked the question, ‘How are people supposed to understand how important it is that we protect the planet if they have never seen what it looked like hundreds of years ago?” I think this is a really powerful [thought].”

Mahabir Sharma

Renewable energy consultant, Dubai

Mahabir Sharma

Mahabir Sharma

On overtourism: “I agree that many famous cities are burdened by the problem of overtourism. This places a huge burden on a city’s resources and is an environmental issue too.”

Would I choose a less popular destination? “I am a frequent business traveller and personally, don’t have much of a liking for mega cities. I prefer relatively quiet and historical places.”

Being a responsible traveller: “The only way one can be a reasonable traveller is to avoid wastage, be it regarding transport, water, food, laundry, etc. Recently, we were on vacation to Sri Lanka and we preferred to spend most of our time in the countryside and not in the capital city of Colombo.”

Is it time to redefine tourism? “This is tricky! For many countries, the tourism is the backbone of their economy. [Travel] is also important for one’s own education. The most important thing is to educate the traveller on environmental conservation. ”

Sadia Abbasi

Pakistani media professional in Dubai

Sadia Abbasi

Sadia Abbasi

On overtourism: “I think there is enough pressure on famous tourist spots, in terms of crowds, long lines, traffic jams, and littering. I witnessed this first-hand when I visited the Eiffel Tower in Paris.”

Would I choose a less popular destination: “Definitely. It’s important to imbibe this outlook in the children [too]. Our planet has so much more offer to apart from landmarks.”

Being a responsible traveller: “I always try to put my best foot forward on a holiday, especially as I’m representing my country. I don’t litter or cut lines or dodge paying for public transport.”

Is it time to redefine tourism? “Governments should limit the number of tourists to minimise the pressure on resources. Tourism revenue is important but it should not come at a long-term social or environmental cost.”

Hamdy Bahnasy

Public sector official, Dubai

Hamdy Bahnasy

Hamdy Bahnasy

On overtourism: “I don’t believe ‘over-tourism’ is a widespread problem. I’ve gone to quite a few places in Europe and America and I didn’t see a negative impact of tourism.”

Would I choose a less popular destination: “I’m happy to visit lesser-known places. In fact, I went to the Netherlands countryside and it was more amazing than Amsterdam.”

Being a responsible traveller: “Tourists are guests in the host country. It’s not just about obeying local laws, you have to be mindful of the local culture and respect it. You want to leave them with the impression that they would love to see you again.”

Is it time to redefine tourism? “Tourism is a business and if you want repeat customers, you have to give them a good deal. So there has to be a balance between making money off tourism and re-investing it in the community, protecting the environment and providing adequate facilities.”

— Inputs from Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter