Tourism Tuesday, 1/2/18

Continuing on with our theme:

The good news, if long overdue, is that tourism media now brim with opinions on how to deal with overtourism.

* Tourism consultant Xavier Font and journalist Elizabeth Becker have articles on the problem in the Guardian.
* Former Nat Geo Traveler editor Norie Quintos has recommendations on crowd-dodging for adventure-travel tour operators.
* Tourism news service Skift has offered its own 5 solutions. Skiff Solutions
* Responsible Travel’s Justin Francis argues that megacruise ships and budget airlines exacerbate the problem, supported by governments that refuse to impose carbon taxes.
* Our own Destination Stewardship Center has several blog posts on the topic, including one by Salli Felton of the Travel Foundation.
* The Independent reports on Amsterdam’s plan for using technology to spread out the crowds.
* WTTC promises to issue a report about overtourism later this year. Commentator Anna Pollock has posted her doubts in a Linkedin essay that urges optimizing tourism, not maximizing it.
Pollock is on to something. Most of those overtourism recommendations merely mitigate the problem. The population explosion has already happened. The term “overtourism” may lose its cachet from overuse, but the problem is here for generations. It cannot be solved until world leaders face a simple geometric reality:

It is impossible to pack infinitely growing
numbers of tourists into finite spaces.

So what to do? A world of more than 7 billion people requires rethinking tourism, namely:

1. Change the prevailing paradigm: More tourism is not necessarily better. Better tourism is better.
2. Governments and industry should therefore abolish the practice of setting tourism goals based only on arrivals.
3. Instead, incentivize longer stays and discourage hit-and-run, selfie-stick tourism.
4. To help do that, destination stakeholders should form stewardship councils that help government and industry plan according to limits of acceptable change.

Entire article here:

9 thoughts on “Tourism Tuesday, 1/2/18

  1. Thank you Kate for making this a recurring topic, and keeping the focus on this issue! I believe the solutions for protecting this area lie in controlled access. Sycamore Canyon road and the Free-for all, “ zero accountability” chaos is totally irresponsible of our government agencies in terms of Public Safety. I could elaborate but we all know this is actually a very dangerous situation, a fuse waiting to be lit, if you will. Does someone need to die waiting for an ambulance or many people die, trapped, trying to escape some calamity, for a solution to be found, and acted upon? Maybe a crowdfunding for a gate at the top would force the permit process? In terms of the overcrowding of the entire area, I used to think/ hope that the crowds would reach a critical mass, a saturation point that would become a deterrent; clearly that isn’t happening. Over the past 2 weeks I’ve seen an unused cliff become a trampled social trail, when one fisherman with a kayak became 5, and then 11 at last count. Obviously, we cannot stop a lot of this type of activity but we can and must take actions to minimize the destruction of Big Sur!

  2. Please send me the NO OPEN FIRE sign. Trying to have the County- District 5 to adapt signing against any open fire, including smoking. Still plenty of sigaret buds all over in sensitive dry areas, including wilderness and Big Sur landscape.

  3. Kate,

    Thundershowers expected tomorrow – Is everyone ready for changing driving conditions? Where’s our treasure long range weather guy with the building of hope for normal rain amounts?

    OASN – Had the 1st power outage of the year this morning..

  4. I am SO very with you on this topic. Fighting my own battles here with the full-throated cries for salvage logging in our burned areas (even in the wilderness areas.) Thanks to the current administration we’re losing protections from logging, mining… all the ones crazy for extraction in our Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.

  5. Hi Kate, Happy New Year
    Living in Santa Cruz, which depends on tourism, this has been an insightful series of posts. Short term vacation rentals are now being regulated. But the City Council is wanting more big hotels as well as tall, dense, tiny space apartment buildings with minimal or no parking along our already congested corridors, citing a “housing crisis.” Not quite the problems you contend with in beloved Big Sur. I’ve been coming down, camping each April for more than 40 years, never building a fire, cleaning all the area around of trash and cigarette butts. Finding peace and rejuvenation even while observing the major impacts of tourism over the decades. I’m feeling badly about being “one of them” flooding the area, yet hoping stewardship on my visit helps a bit. I know no one can “give permission” as not affecting the fragile land.

  6. Just spent the day in Yosemite. Even in a Tuesday in January, the line of humans on the trail to Vernal Falls was astounding! And I know it isn’t even close to what it is like in the summer.

  7. Julie, that is truly “ bad awful news!” On a Tuesday in January! Hopefully it’s leftover holiday crowds, as many schools are still closed this week. Still…..

  8. Kate,

    Latest Weather Channel weekly update has showers & rain Wed thru Fri – sunny weekend- then showers return Mon & Tues. My head’s spinning..

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