Is 'destination duping' Europe's hottest new travel trend?

En esta foto de archivo del 15 de septiembre de 2015, un pájaro vuela frente a la Torre Eiffel, en París.
En esta foto de archivo del 15 de septiembre de 2015, un pájaro vuela frente a la Torre Eiffel, en París. Copyright Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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Visitor figures in numerous popular destinations have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. With the world leaping from crisis to crisis, travellers are desperate to get away and are ready to pay higher prices for hotspots. But there are cheaper solutions, as Euronews found out at the ITB in Berlin.

"Destination Dupe", the new travel trend

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But social media has been fuelling a new trend, that can help tourists beat the crowds. Introducing ‘The Destination Dupe,’ where other 'lesser known' destinations are suggested instead of overcrowded hotspots. Swap Tunis for Santorini, Pula for Rome, Ljubljana for Venice.

Athens has been one of the most famous examples of trying to reign in visitor numbers, citing sustainability. In 2023, the Acropolis introduced a daily visitor cap at 20,000.

“2023 was again a record year in terms of arrivals and revenue” Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni told Euronews.

"It's really important to alleviate the pressure on certain destinations promoting the offering in other destinations which are not so well known internationally,” she added, saying Greece was trying to promote the country as a year-round destination.

No mass tourism in Slovenia

Other countries are also welcoming the new trend to help stem flow of visitors who disrupt residents' lives by bringing issues such as high rents and pollution in tow with them. Several, including Slovenia, already recognise that mass tourism doesn’t come with big benefits.

"We don't actually even have mass tourism in Slovenia” Head of the Germany & Switzerland Office at the Slovenian Tourist Board Rebeka Bizjak said, adding that the lack of big resorts helps with sustainable travel, as part of the sustainable tourism programme Slovenia has had in place for 10 years.

Steps to combat overtourism

Tunisia has also taken steps to distance itself from the mass tourism image.

“Everyone has contributed to changing this image. And, of course, this is also thanks to the measures taken by the Tunisian government to improve the business climate, enhance the sustainability of Tunisian tourism, including economic, social, and environmental sustainability,” the Tunisian Minister of Tourism Mohamed Moez Belhassine said.

Overcrowded destinations such as Venice and Amsterdam are hiking tourist taxes this year in an effort to combat overtourism. Iceland will also introduce a tax later this year to help the country with its goal to become carbon-neutral before 2040.

France plans to launch a €1m campaign encouraging domestic and foreign tourists to visit destinations off the beaten track instead of the 20% of the country where 80% of visits are concentrated.

But ‘destination duping’ isn't only beneficial to residents of undiscovered cities nor overcrowded ones, it can also help the environment. As flight costs continue to increase, travellers are embracing this new trend that allows them to escape for less.

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