The Invisible Burden of Tourism, part 4

Before I continue on with my planned post in the series about the invisible burden of tourism, I wanted to mention the last 10 days of Car Week. Some of the people whose opinions I value felt that the traffic was not as bad as could have been, and that the events seemed well organized. Others, found that the events were not the problem, they were car races on streets and highways which were very dangerous, tourists misbehaving into the wee hours in downtown Carmel, and an increase in crime and driving under the influence. What I have heard few talk about is the damage to the environment. What is the effect of this opulent passion with vehicles on our air and water? How does cancelling school for the excessive display of wealth and vanity affect the children? When are we going to ask the hard questions about being home to this kind of an activity? I must admit, I, who only ventured out once, to SLO, was pleased that it was spread out over the entire Peninsula so that everyone had the opportunity to be affected by these past ten days. What was your experience? Please share in the comments below.

Continuing on with this series, the idea Professor Epler Wood presented was: The idea is to make tourism pay its own way to the benefit of everyone.

So, how do we do that? The first thing we do, of course, is to collect the data necessary. To do that, we need to get all parties to agree to the importance and necessity of obtaining this data, and to agree on a method of doing so. There is no need to reinvent the process. We can learn from other destinations, as we are doing from Hawaii, and we can bring in experts that know what we face and what we need.

On the day I started this series, 7/18/19, I presented an idea to several officers of the CABS Governing Board that I got from an article Lisa Kleissner posted on tourism. It quoted Epler Wood extensively. So I got out my copy of her book Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet, and had an ah-ha moment.

This ah-ha moment came from some pieces I put together into a new and different pattern. I knew that MCCVB had received the additional monies they asked for from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on two conditions, one of which was to establish the shuttle service to Pfeiffer Beach that had been operated as a pilot project. I also discovered via Community Association of Big Sur that agreement between CABS, USFS, and Park Management could not be reached to run this service. I did not know the amount of money allotted. (I subsequently discovered it was $40,000, a mere ink stain compared to MCCVB’s income.) THAT money, now not needed for the shuttle, had to be returned to MCCVB, and could not be used for anything Big Sur. that was allotted for the shuttle should be now used to present a workshop or seminar by MCCVB, open for free to the entire Peninsula community —

Butch Kronlund, Executive Director of CABS later informed me that in the recently passed county budget, of the monies allocated to MCCVB, we were successful in obtaining $150,000 allocated specifically for Big Sur out of the $900,000 additional monies MCCVB was requesting. That is 1/6th of the additional monies, which were on top of the original budget monies requested monies by MCCVB. At the end of this month, I am attending MCCVB’s annual luncheon in which they issue their yearly income and expenditure reports as well as the projections for the following year. I attended it last year at their invitation, but this year at my own. I will be blogging about those monies after that luncheon.

I now continue with the article from

While figures proclaiming the number of visitor arrivals or tourism jobs have become common yardsticks for assessing the health of a local tourism industry, the study finds that destination managers often ignore other vital metrics. 

Those include each individual traveler’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, wear and tear on local infrastructure, threats to biodiversity and demand for land and housing.

Failure to confront these hidden costs is starting to degrade the customs, culture, monuments, natural resources and other assets that make these destinations so appealing to visit in the first place.

In Barcelona, visitors swarm beaches and other beloved attractions, transforming places long loved by residents into virtual no-go zones for locals. Residents are being driven out of Venice as 30 million annual tourists bombard the Italian city, stampeding streets, sidewalks and canals and skyrocketing the price of rent. Poorly behaving tourists on Easter Island have made a mockery of the island’s indigenous culture, climbing on giant moai statues and posing with them for nose-picking photos

To turn this scenario on its head, governments and the travel industry must reinvest a higher percentage of tourism revenues into the destination, the study concludes. The first step toward achieving this requires destination managers to uncover the full cost of hosting each individual visitor. Only then can stakeholders figure out how to pay for those costs.

When such costs go ignored, the study finds that residents are forced to foot the bill. Or worse, the bill doesn’t get paid at all.

The idea is to make tourism pay its own way to the benefit of everyone.

To achieve this, the “Invisible Burden” study suggests local governments create a global trust or revolving fund account with apolitical leaders to finance the preservation of destination assets. (To be continued.)