Overtourism, like overpopulation, is a global issue. Big Sur is not alone with this problem. I have brought you articles demonstrating this problem for almost a year. I will be cutting back on bringing these to you for Tourist Tuesday. I am still resolving what I will cover on this issue, and how.
One of the lines in the last article about social media and tourism that caught my eye, which is a good lead-in to this article is this: “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?”
Infrastructure is what many of us have been arguing since 2016 and our first “overtourism” meeting at Treebones in May of that year. We are always told there are no resources to support the infrastructure we have been clamoring for; increased enforcement bathrooms, parking permits, etc. Let’s look at that claim.
Here is the budget of the MCCVB for 2018-2019:
Here is a closer look: between Jurisdictional Income and TID/HID income Monterey County gives the MCCVB $2,000,000 a year.
As well as the annual report of the MCCVB for 2017-2018:
To put this in perspective, with the money MoCo gives MCCVB each year it could fund TEN deputy sheriffs at Jesse Villasenor’s level, that includes salary, overtime, other pay, and benefits. (Here is the link for: Jesse’s salary)
The next time our county tells us they don’t have the money to help Big Sur with its overtourism problem. Point to this. They do. They have simply prioritized bringing in more and more tourists rather than provide for a meaningful experience for them.
But we need to think Statewide, not just county. It is a state highway, patrolled, by state employees. The entire state depends on us and this stretch of road to meet its tourism goals, as was amply demonstrated when other areas were closed due to fires. Yosemite and Big Sur are now tied for yearly number of visitors. See California (link here)
I will provide additional research and information on the tourist industry in MoCo and California in another installment of Tourist Tuesdays, but no longer will I be doing them each week due to the time needed to research what I write. Maybe I will be make this a monthly column, will see where it leads us…