This seems suited to the day after Labor Day, a typically heavy tourist weekend.
The massive growth of Instagram, social media, and travel blogs in recent years has had a profound impact on how we travel. Not all of it positive. Has travel changed forever?
As someone who makes a living as a travel blogger and photographer, inspiring others to travel, this topic has been on my mind a lot lately.
Over the last 8 years I’ve witnessed first-hand how travel destinations have become overwhelmed by tourists and Instagram selfie-seekers, many of whom are destroying the places they visit.
In fact, I’m part of the problem. And I don’t know how I feel about that.
As you’ll see below, this is a multi-faceted issue, with many different components involved. Social media isn’t the only culprit.
But how do we fix it? Is it even possible, or are we too late?
There is much more to this article, but I am going to skip to his last points, then give you a link to go read the entire article. It is worth it.
Yes, I’m Part Of The Problem
I’m fully aware of the irony of being a tourist myself, complaining about other tourists. And the further irony that I’m making a living doing it in the process.
While helping to promote these destinations to a wide audience as part of my business, they eventually get overwhelmed.
I’m not so egotistical to think that my content alone created these problems, but I certainly share some of the blame.
Back in 2014 I traveled to Iceland for the first time, renting a campervan and driving the country’s Ring Road. I wrote an article about my experience, which has been read 750,000 times by other travelers.
One location I mentioned was completely altered after my visit. Due to a surge of disrespectful tourists, the Sólheimasandur airplane trail was closed down to vehicles and the plane itself was wrecked by graffiti.
Back in 2013 I visited a special monastery in Thailand where monks would give you a traditional Sak Yant tattoo, etched by hand, in exchange for a $3 donation. Filled with locals, and a few tourists, the experience was very authentic and cool.
However after word got around and the activity became super popular, the site turned into a gimmicky tattoo factory, with regular dudes doing the work (no longer monks), and charging upwards of $120 USD.
So What’s The Solution?
Do travelers with “influence” need to be more careful about what they share online? Or will no location remain pristine and undiscovered for long, regardless of what we do?
Do governments need to do a better job managing their tourists, spending more money on enforcing laws, permit systems, sustainability, and infrastructure — rather than tourism marketing?
Or are we just undergoing an unstoppable change in how the world travels — due to a combination of population growth, a rising worldwide middle class, and our already narcissistic nature combined with social media?
I really don’t know. Maybe there isn’t a solution. But I’m hoping that together we can at least acknowledge that there’s something troubling going on, and maybe try to do our own small part to make a difference.
- Pick up some trash on your next adventure.
- Observe posted signs and local customs.
- Read up on travel photography etiquette.
- Put down your camera from time to time.
- Shame & report those who aren’t following rules.
- Learn more about the people and places you visit.
- Don’t treat travel as a competition or checklist.
- Be aware your actions may have negative consequences.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, GO HERE: