Andrea Fuentes is a tour leader with Intrepid Travel and regularly arranges trips to Venice, which is struggling with the impacts 30 million yearly visitors is having on the local community and house prices

Venice is one of many places suffering from overtourism (AFP via Getty Images)

A sustainable travel expert working in one of the busiest holiday hotspots in the world has shared her top tips for being a well-loved traveller.

Andrea Fuentes is a tour leader with Intrepid Travel where she arranges trips to some of the most popular parts of Italy and Spain including Venice, the Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast. She and the firm promote sustainable tourism where as much money goes to locals as possible, the busiest areas are avoided and independent lodges are favoured over chain hotels.

Venice is a city which has been struggling to keep its magic intact more than almost any other with its reputation as one of the most sought after destinations in the world. As more locals rent out their flats as holiday lets and move to the mainland; as 24million visitors spend less than a day in the city; and as its UNESCO status comes under threat, the question of whether or not to visit Venice and potentially contribute to the problem becomes harder to answer.

Andrea is confident that it is possible to visit the Floating City – and many other similarly overloaded holiday destinations in Spain, Italy and across the world – without washing away what makes them so special by making efforts to be a conscientious tourist. Check out her top tips below.

Go as a small group

Venice welcomes in close to 25million day-trippers a year(AFP via Getty Images)

A big problem can be that large travel firms send big groups around popular cities, which can help to clog narrow alleyways or flood certain spots with too many people. Seeing large groups of tourists lingering in city squares or cluttering up the pavement is a sure-fire way to make locals grumble. “We have small groups, which is essential when going to over-touristed destinations,” Andrea said. “It really matters.”

Choose your moment wisely

The weather in northern Italy is usually lovely and bright for most of the year. A trip to Venice when it’s quieter – in early spring or late autumn – can often be more pleasant weather wise than the height of summer, will almost certainly be cheaper when it comes to hotels, and helps the city spread out its visitor numbers will still bringing income. The same theory holds for many over holiday hotspots.

Andrea advises Intrepid Travel customers to avoid going to the city at weekends and heading to the busiest areas such as St Marks Square a while before 11am, when the day-trippers tend to arrive. She also urges people to stay for longer, to get a better feel of the place and to explore the lesser visited corners.

“Environmentally and socially, day trips are bad,” she said. “(Staying longer) allows people to do different things. You start eating or shopping in a different way to how you do at home. In the UK you might eat at 6pm, in Venice the restaurants are open late into the night. You can start going later to have your dinner. You avoid all the full restaurants. You can stop and observe the locals.”