The Invisible Burden of Tourism, part 1

“A record-setting 10.2 million tourists are expected to visit Hawaii this year. What’s the full cost of welcoming them?

According to a new academic study, “Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism,” even the best attempts at answering this question are informed by inaccurate, incomplete and otherwise misleading data. 

The impact of global tourism on local economies remains largely unknown, and this knowledge gap has allowed poor management to fester, according to the study authored by EplerWood International, Cornell University and the Travel Foundation.

Overtourism is identified in the March 2019 study as a symptom of this underlying problem. To fix it requires a paradigm shift.”

Lisa Kleissner introduced me to this article, and my immediate reaction was that this was such an important article, I wanted to feature it over the rest of the summer on Tourist Tuesdays. In fact, Megan Epler Wood, cited extensively in this article is the author of Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet and the founder of the EplerWood Institute. CABS thinks that the speaker they have arranged for August 5, Christ Costas, who partnered with Megan Epler Wood in the early days of the sustainable tourism movement, is a better fit for us. But the information in the article and in her book, is invaluable.

This is my copy of her ground-breaking book

Form an introduction to this book:

“This book recommends that decision makers assess the current and future value of natural, social, and cultural capital to guide investment in destinations and protect vital resources. Case studies illustrate why budgets to protect local destinations are consistently underestimated and offer guidance on new metrics. Innovative approaches are proposed to support the transition to green infrastructure, protect incomparable landscapes, and engage local people in the monitoring of vital indicators to protect local resources.”

This will be a lengthy series which will probably last throughout the rest of the summer season. It is already in 4 parts and I have at least 1 or 2 more parts to write. Tune in next Tourist Tuesday for part 2.

2 thoughts on “The Invisible Burden of Tourism, part 1

  1. Kate,
    One fondly hopes your extensive knowledge of the issue and your wisely chosen words and shared articles have an impact on the local (as in all of Monterey County) have an impact on the various visitor serving agencies—which to this observer seem clueless. Thank you for so much.

  2. I have been posting these Tourism Tuesday articles, photos, ideas, for coming up on 2 years now, I think, so sooner or later, enough of the decision makers will “get it.” I think MCCVB may be, and if not, I have a few things up my sleeve, but SeeCalifornia is what I am worried about. Would like to steer them to Sacramento and Bakersfield, currently the fastest two growing cities in the state. The Coast has become so unbearable, people are moving away. And Sacramento has always been a very interesting tourist destination, at least for me. So much history and so much to do.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.