Tourist Thursday, 3/28/19

It seems as if I have so much information I want to share regarding overtourism, I think I might have to add a second day for a while. As we all know, once fire season starts, we will all be too busy to have this discussion!

Here is the first page of a lengthy article I am reading (I will be posting more of it in the coming weeks, as well as of other lengthy articles):



It got me thinking…what are the tourist/resident ratios for other destinations? So I looked up a few: The greatest ratio given is 33:1 Here. However, there are other statistics available and the countries with the highest Yearly Tourist arrivals to residents ratio are Andorra, Macao SAR, China, Sint Maarten (Dutch part), Monaco, Aruba with a(n) Yearly Tourist arrivals to residents ratio of (2,630), (2,349), (1,169), (957), (883) % respectively. (See:

So, I did a little math. A conservative estimate of the number of visitors to Big Sur given at the CCC meeting on Friday, 3/22/19 was said to be 5-6 million a year. I will use the lower, more conservative, 5 million. The number of residents in Big Sur, being generous, is approximately 1500. What does that make our tourist to residents ration: 3,333% -greater than any country in the world, by over 700%!!

I’ll let that sink in, for a moment.

Tourist Tuesday & The California Coastal Commission

This was an expansion of the oral statement Martha Diehl offered before the community meeting last Friday hosted by Supervisor Mary Adams for our Coastal Commission representative, Commissioner Groome. Martha spoke with Commissioner Groome at the pre tour meeting in the Highlands as Mary Adams requested. That one wasn’t filmed & had no audience so nobody except the invitees heard her. She was asked to give an overview of the LUP to set the scene for the driving tour before the community meeting. She also submitted this letter to the commissioner in this more expansive written format. Remember, the Coastal Commission’s purpose is to increase public access to our state’s coastal regions, which can sometimes be at odds with environmental protections and community needs. This is a long read, but well worth it. Thank you, Martha, for allowing me to publish this!


CCC Meeting now online!

The recent community meeting in Big Sur with California Coastal Commissioner Carole Groom is available online on the Monterey County Government Channel YouTube channel:

Maia Carroll
Communications Coordinator
County of Monterey

Tourist Tuesday – Epler Wood International

The quote below is by the same woman, Meghan Epler Wood, who wrote the book I introduced last Tuesday. This quote is from her website, EplerWoodInternational, Here

“After decades of steady growth, international tourist numbers surpassed 1 billion for the first time in 2012. The report shows that destinations across the world are not prepared for the unprecedented demands this has placed on them, leading to alarming reports of overtourism. With growth set to continue exponentially, reaching 1.8 billion tourists by 2030, a global crisis is looming.

While overtourism is an important symptom, the use of vital natural, social and public assets without recompense is highlighted as the core of the problem.  The report suggests that, wherever it exists, tourism places an “invisible burden” on destinations and their residents. The invisible burden leaves inadequate revenue to provide a sustainable foundation to manage the rapid growth of tourism worldwide.

Examples of the invisible burden of tourism include the costs of:

  • expanding local infrastructure to meet growing tourism needs;
  • high demand for scarce land and valuable urban resources;
  • managing increased exposure to climate change risks, especially with coastal tourism; and
  • protecting historic public spaces and monuments.

It’s clear that the failure to properly account for the full cost of tourism growth is preventing action. Therefore, new accounting mechanisms are necessary to protect the very assets on which national economies and businesses worldwide depend.

The report explores innovations in both policy and finance to manage the invisible burden of tourism. It makes a case for public-private cooperation in the design of data-driven mechanisms for managing, monitoring and financing destinations worldwide.

The analysis began with in-depth interviews with academic, business, and global experts and a roundtable at Cornell University. It was followed up with research into current academic and case literature and sustainability studies from relevant fields such as urban planning, protected area management, environmental economics, and the digital economy.

The report will be published in March 2019.”

Closer to home, at CSUMB, Dr. Roberta Atzori and Dr. Laura Kasa are working on a case study on overtourism using as their focus Big Sur and what has happened here. Their case study will become a chapter in a book on this subject. I can’t wait to read both of these reports.

Meet with Coastal Commissioner Carole Groom Friday

Dear BSMAAC stakeholders:

This Friday, March 22, 2019 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Big Sur Lodge, Supervisor Adams is hosting Coastal Commissioner Carole Groom for a Big Sur community meeting. The meeting will include presentations from your neighbors on how the Commission’s mission to ensure coastal access intersects with the day-to-day experience of residents, public safety professionals, and business in Big Sur. There will also be a 30-minute public comment period.

You can arrive as early at 1:15 p.m. Parking for the meeting will be in the lower lot only.

Please see the attached flyer.

We look forward to seeing you.

On behalf of Supervisor Mary L. Adams,

Sarah Hardgrave

Policy Analyst

Office of Supervisor Mary L. Adams