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.)

15 thoughts on “The Invisible Burden of Tourism, part 4

  1. Route 1 near Carmel Valley sounded like Laguna Seca afternoons and every night the whole week. I noticed that Monterey was posting smiling pictures of their officers policing one of the official events. The priority in policing should have been to protect the community, our streets and neighborhoods. We’ve all seen some pretty dangerous driving out there this past week. A lot of the community can’t simply leave during this week, we still have to go work, school, the doctor, vet, grocery store, etc. This means we’ve got elderly relatives and young people out there on the road alongside tourists who have come here to exhibit their car’s speed and power. The priority of policing should be on keeping the local community environment at the same relative safety level as usual, not protecting expensive cars from being stolen.

  2. Chiming in from Pacific Grove where the 0-dark-nightly serenade during car week, worse (and longer) this year, is the revved up sounds of big engines racing (and echoing) about the community. This year a somewhere-in-the-neighborhood annual car week all night bash, thankfully, didn’t carryon all night. I wonder if locals who don’t join in don’t just consider the period a quarantine and stock up and stay home.

  3. While we can do our best to avoid this horrific ten days, but it is not always possible, and safety should be number one, but also, no one seems to be talking about the environmental damage of this many cars racing up and down the PCH every year.

  4. Route One and Ocean Ave where we live has turned into the Le Mans race after dark. We also heard several police sirens so they are trying to control it. Car Week used to be old timers in their vintage sports cars. The tide has turned to more modern supercars with incredible power that can be dangerous with inexperienced drivers. More policing would help, and maybe a place for the supercars to turn them loose other than the streets. Maybe the Marina Airport, where they run autocross and police trading events throughout the year…

  5. I felt like I was living at a racetrack from the sounds I heard in Carmel. One night till after midnight then started 6 am next day. I remember the days before this area was completely dependent and sold out to tourism and there was a balance. We might not have a water problem if we did not regularly invite 100.000 people or more to visit!!!

  6. First it was a Sunday, then a Weekend, Then a long Weekend, Then a whole week, now 10 days, next they will hog the whole month. Yes and Highway 1 through Monterey late at night did sound like a race track, for 10 days and nights.

  7. They were doing tree work on the Nepenthe property all week and it was nice to hear the chainsaws drown out the sound of the concourse d’arrogance cars.
    I’m surprised there wasn’t more accidents.

  8. Both Carmel and Monterey publicised increased enforcement targeting street racing and excessive speed. The result? The yahoos serious about flouting the law moved to the unincorporated areas for their reckless behaviors. My least favorite were a sports car crew called Fuel Run, who convoyed up from Malibu. They commandeered entire Highway 1 pullouts, even ones with businesses that used them for customer parking. They also held a private event with amplified music at Ventana Inn with loud music and an shrill megaphoned MC that continued past the county noise ordinance cutoff time of 10 pm. I would love to see a return to CLASSIC cars for this event! Let the performance vehicles do their thing at Laguna Seca. And also a disciplinary wing of the Concours that bans bad actors from participating in future years if they do not represent the event well.

  9. I live on Laureles Grade, and there was definitely a huge uptick in the amount of traffic…turning in and out of my driveway became even more dangerous and nerve wracking, so I pretty much avoid leaving my home during car week. Additionally, there is a lot of racing that goes on, both cars and motorcycles. Even our little Mid Valley Safeway was a jam packed zoo last weekend when I had to run down to get some supplies for my dog who had surgery on Friday. I know we all live in a beautiful part of the world, and part of that means dealing with tourists, but I do worry about the safety of the roads, and the impact on the environment.

  10. The original Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday is a fun decades-old local tradition that is part of Peninsula life in August. This lovely cultural event that gives millions of dollars to local charities is managed well, and is pretty much contained. It is the explosion of new events at Quail, Blackhorse, etc. that is changing the very civilized Thursday/Sunday into an out of control free-for-all. There is no coordination. Lots of money is being made, and tourism-promoting organizations need to be held accountable. A pdf about sustainable tourism on a government website as a solution is weak.

  11. A group of us were having our monthly Garden Club meeting on Wed the 14th at the Big Sur library when we were assaulted by the most ungodly racket that seemed to go on and on. Wea all went out to see a very large group of street racer vehicles stopped to refuel. They were not just refueling but revving their engines and screeching out of the parking lot at high rates of speed. Around the blind corner to the north where they were headed would be alot of pedestrian traffic at the River Inn as well as other vehicles. This continued for a very long time in that there were probably about 100 cars involved in this dangerous and incredubly loud assault on our community. Among these were numerous “Fuel Monterey” vehicles – I’m told are the organizers and that they began this trip in Malibu. Let’s hope this was the first – and last – time we ever see and hear this nonsense in Big Sur.

  12. I refrained from commenting earlier, as where to begin?! Great comments from others captured a lot of the noise issues, and the expansion from a Sunday event to all week. When Carmel added Concours on the Avenue, initially a nice, low key event, evidently the floodgates opened and it’s now a weeklong Free party. On Ocean Ave. I felt like I was in downtown San Jose on Saturday night- no actual events, But Lamborghinis, McClarens, etc on RED CARPETS! Really? Taking up parking spaces for what exactly? Mobs of people! In the Highlands we had racing cars in our neighborhoods night and day. Every event permit should require the addition of 25 + additional cops in cars, dispersed to control racing, illegal mufflers ( lack of?) to aggressively put the genie back in the bottle. Make it unattractive for groups like Fuel Run. Close down Ocean Ave at night when majority of businesses have closed. Loud street party all night for a week in Carmel? Pretty unbelievable! Last but not least, I hesitate to even post a comment as who can get by the mini blog on bicycling?! The subject is car week BTW! Seriously- domination by expansion. It’s real.

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