Tourist Tuesday Posts

I have created this new page as a way to keep track of all the posts on this one subject – it has been 4 months, after all. While the categories tagging will help you find the specific post, this puts them all on one page to make it easier to reference. As is usual on blogs, the older posts are at the bottom.

April 24, 2018:

This is from a 2011 report sent to me by Lana Weeks, so the information is a bit dated, but here are a few pages of the report and some interesting statistics:



April 17, 2018:

It is hard to write anything for today, after dealing with the Rio Rd. fiasco all weekend, for the second weekend in a row, and also seeing and hearing – loud parties, drunks asleep in the middle of the road, and booming speakers – what people did in my neighborhood. None of what you see below was here a few years ago, and the off-roading was twice as bad on Sunday as it was on Wednesday when I went down the hill to town. So many new tracks and destruction over the weekend. I am saddened beyond belief and my hope in maintaining any semblance of wilderness has been shaken. Soon, all the wildflowers, grasses, and wildlife will be gone.

Tomorrow I will be attending the MCCVB Sustainability Forum, and it will be a challenge for me. I want people who contribute to this madness to be held responsible for the damage. I want those charged with protecting the wilderness, the coast, the highway, and the community to take responsibility. Have we reached the tipping point? Are we past the point of no return?


April 10, 2018:

Noon, from a Highlands Neighbor:

”I called Christine Poe around 9:30 and was transferred to her after a short wait. She was very understanding of the frustration we are all experiencing in getting through the Rio Road/Hwy. 1 intersection. I mainly spoke with her regarding the safety issues of having that intersection blocked if there an emergency, the possible impatience of a driver deciding to pass other vehicles, and the lack of well timed traffic lights. She did tell me that engineers were scheduled to be at the site today to discuss the traffic situation and she would add my safety concerns to their discussion. She also suggested having Highway Patrol there to control traffic in person might alleviate the problem. Unfortunately, the CHP site notes that they do not have the man power to do so.”

6:30 am – With the road work at Rio Rd. to last through the summer, this will be the 3d summer in a row where local Big Sur businesses face challenges. Patience will be required, and weekend trips to town will be curtailed. Three big events are scheduled during this construction project: Big Sur Marathon, Sea Otter Classic, and Amgen. The Concours is scheduled for the end of August. Any bets on whether the construction will be finished in time?

I am taking this day off from Tourists and Tourism and enjoying the spring weather and planning for gardening projects. I need grounding and balance.

April 3,  2018:

I took a closer look at thepresentation MCCVB made at the last BSMBAAC meeting. While I can see the need for a “Destination Master Plan” for Monterey County, I think we need a separate and community oriented, implemented, and managed Sustainable Destination Stewardship Program/Plan for Big Sur. In discussions with Tammy Blount of MCCVB, she has agreed that a separate, “special” forum should be held for Big Sur. I look forward to working with Tammy and finding a common vocabulary which will strengthen our sense of community here in Big Sur – the crown jewel of Monterey County.

A “Master Plan” reminds me too much of dystopian novels like 1984, Brave New World, Handmaiden’s Tale, Soylent Green, etc. Personally, I think the Sustainable and Stewardship components of any plan are critical to how we approach the issue of sustainability of both the community and the environment of Big Sur as tourism continues to increase exponentially. The focus needs to shift from making money to sustaining the sense of place, in my opinion. Making money is only relevant if it is used to enhance the experience – not profit from it. I also see that Big Sur needs a bigger voice in any planning endeavor. Big Sur needs to take the lead in any efforts to “market” her unique beauty, and if necessary, tell others she is not for sale. Several members of the board of CPOA are willing and delighted to work with us on creating an entity for such a purpose.

Naming, to me, helps to define, refine, and focus our goals so we don’t get distracted from the purpose we have for going forward, obtaining financing, other backing, and instituting meaningful change to save our community and place while we share it with visitors. Also, it will help establish the roles of all our various governmental and non-governmental agencies who claim a stakehold in Big Sur by helping them to fulfill their management plans and see the many ways each is compatible with the others. We need to get away from the singularity which defines each government agency and begin to see our Big Sur Coast as a holistic entity, entitled to the protection she needs and deserves.

Here is a quarterly event that MCCVB hosts that addresses this issue:


The above is a screen shot, so the registration button is not “live.” Here is a link you can go to to register for the Sustainable Moments marketing forum: Sustainable Moments Quarterly Forum. I have signed up to attend, and will report back after the Forum. Marcus Foster has also indicated he is interested in attending. I would encourage all of you interested in the future of Big Sur and her tourism component to come to this forum to listen, learn, and contribute, if appropriate. Big Sur is the driving force behind tourism for the entire Monterey Peninsula. It is time we have a bigger voice that is heard.

Next week, I will seek out information on how to work with and organize all the diverse stakeholders present in Big Sur. Thanks to others in the community with whom I have had conversations, I am convinced that the MCCVB is NOT the appropriate entity to spear head an issue to preserve and protect Big Sur, and am looking at a whether a disinterested outside consultant might be the way to go, along with formulating a non-profit Big Sur entity capable of grant-writing, funding a consultant, fund-raising, organizing, and implementing a long-term plan that incorporates all the various interlocking pieces that comprise Big Sur and make her who she is. If you want to be a part of this process, please let me know how you see yourself contributing, either in the comments or via email to

I had not intended to make this portion of my blog a full-time endeavor, but that is what it is becoming. Big Sur needs protecting and all of us must become proactive in this. All the individual concerns we have: bathrooms, traffic, degradation of the wilderness, camping, enforcement, tourists who drive Highway One (poorly), but don’t spend here, preserving our community, work-force housing, our history, protecting our environment and so much more are pieces of this much larger puzzle. Join us in becoming a part of the solution, instead of just bitching. Let’s save the love of our lives and our home, Mama Sur.

3/27/18 (Note, there was no post on Tuesday, 3/20/18, as I was otherwise engaged.)

On Friday, 3/23/18, the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau made a presentation to BSMAAC on the concept of sustainable tourism. They are willing to be the lead organization on this, IF the county is willing to provide/find/arrange the necessary funding. The presentation included the following, which they so kindly sent me. Since I was NOT at this meeting, I would appreciate feedback from community members who WERE present. If you wish to remain anonymous, send it to me privately, and I will post under my name. Email to:



As promised, here is another post from the Destination Center. I am not copying the entire page, So, if you are interested in exploring funding sources for our sustainable tourism project, you will need to go to the original page for funding here:

Destination Center Funding Sources

Also, I want to point out to all my readers that the last four months of Tourism or Tourist Tuesdays are now consolidated on to a single page for ease in finding information. I went to the trouble all day Monday, 3/12, to copy all the existing posts, make sure all links were active, and to reproduce the photographs originally included. One can find this page to the right, under “Pages.” I hope this will help all those who are interested in or working on making our tourism sustainable for the land, the residents, and the tourists.

Also, I have been in contact with Peter Chung, of PARKIT, which is specifically addressing the similar issues surrounding Point Lobos and Garrapata and we are hoping to work together to get these tourist issues resolved. I understand that this will be presented at the BSMAAC meeting in conjunction with my suggestion for a destination management plan. Darn, wish I could come. Anyone want to record it for me? Or send me notes? Or maybe a YouTube? Doesn’t need to be but this section of the meeting.


Today, I will be featuring another article published just yesterday about a place addressing the same issues of over-tourism, this one on Kauai sent to me by Ken Wright. Before I get to that, I do want to inform everyone that this issue will be appearing on the BSMAAC meeting of 3/23/18. Unfortunately, I have a conference that day and the following day up in SF, so will not be in attendance. I trust my views will be aptly represented by the rest of you. Next week, I plan to go back to my coverage of the Sustainable Destination Management Plan options laid out at Destination Center’s website which I have been covering for some months.

Today’s article can be found in total here: The Garden Island.

“Tourist destinations around the world are reacting to growing numbers of visitors adding to congestion, increasing costs of living and disrupting fragile ecosystems.

‘This is our state’s largest industry, so we have to do a better job of addressing our parks, traffic and safety,’ said Rep. Nadine Nakamura.

Some travel destinations are looking closely for ways to solve issues of massive traffic jams, creaking infrastructure, environmental degradation and rising rents.

In 2017, police advised visitors to stay away from Scotland’s second-largest island, Isle of Skye, due to noise complaints, overcrowding and visitors urinating in public.

In Spain, Barcelona’s government passed a law to limit tourist beds after anti-tourist graffiti and protests of services like Airbnb that sent rents soaring and forced residents from homes.

Dubrovnik, Croatia, is capping the number of visitors at 4,000 a day and cutting the number of cruise ships entering the ancient port. Visitors to Santorini, Greece, have been capped to 8,000 a day by the island’s mayor in 2017 with a rising population. Other destinations like Bhutan and Nepal are minimizing environmental impacts by charging daily fees and implementing permit guidelines and restrictions.”

The article mentions two specific problems the Garden Isle is having that Big Sur Shares: Beach Acess (Pfeiffer Beach) and State Park parking along a busy highway. (Point Lobos and JFB.)

“According to Kanoho, a Haena master plan is scheduled to go before the Department of Land and Natural Resources to request limits on visitors to Ke’e Beach, requiring reservations with fees and permits.

Nakamura is also working with a group focusing on visitor impacts at Haena State Park, especially illegal parking on the state highway never intended to accommodate 2,000 visitors a day. She introduced a bill to create a surcharge that would go to county law enforcement and another bill to increase rental car fees for highway improvements and public transit.”

Perhaps, Monterey and any destination plan committee we form can look to implement some of these same ideas.


As I indicated last week, this week I am going back to the destination center’s website regarding sustainable tourism, or geotourism. Again, this website is here: Destination Center.

One thing they have announced is the list of finalists in the Tourism for Tomorrow Finalists. One such finalist is here in the United States – Yellowstone, our first National Park. Their website is here: Jackson Hole. Under Information Resources, accessed from a tab on the top of that website, one will find a series of subtopics, including a source called Community Conversations. HERE, one will find a relatively short report – 16 page pdf document – outlining the goals, the methods, and the results of this project submitted on October 24, 2017. This seems like a good place to start our conversation, and one which might provide a model for us to follow – a model which is a global finalist in destination stewardship or sustainable tourism.

The Executive Summary’s opening paragraph could have been written about Big Sur.

”Jackson Hole is experiencing unprecedented tourism visitation. While our community and destination benefit from the increased revenue, we suffer from the negative impacts associated with this increased visitation upon our environment and natural resources, infrastructure and services, community character and quality of life, and visitor experience. These phenomena are occurring elsewhere as travel and tourism numbers increase worldwide. Destinations have the ability to proactively address these impacts and challenges through the development of destination management plans. Critical to destination management planning is engaging local stakeholders in a conversation about the impacts of increasing visitation, issues and challenges with managing a significantly increasing number of visitors from diverse cultures, and identifying and prioritizing short- and long- term solutions that prevent, mitigate, and manage these impacts, issues, and challenges.”

Sound like a good place to start? At the next BSMAAC meeting, let’s ask to form a committee to formulate a destination management plan. I won’t be able to attend, due to a seminar in SF I must attend on the same date, but I would love to be a part of that conversation.

It is time. We have a Land Management Plan and now we need a Destination Management Plan if we and this place are to survive the increase in tourism. Let’s continue this discussion between now and the next BSMAAC meeting.


Going back to last week’s article, how will we define the character of this place called Big Sur. Who and what is she? What defines her? Those questions and more we need to ask ourselves so that we can come up with a plan for sustainable tourism.

This is the path that the Galapagos is also taking – sustainable tourism. They figure they are at the limit, at a little under a 1/4 of a million visitors a year. As islands, it is easier to limit the number of tourists they allow to go there. And that is what they are doing, in order to protect a fragile and unique environment, where Darwin developed his theory of Natural Selection.

Galapagos fights temptation of lucrative mass tourism

“Keeping a tight lid on tourism is the way the South American country has preserved this volcanic string of 19 large islands, dozens of islets and rocky outcroppings.
Authorities wage this fight as world tourism grows and grows—it was up seven percent last year—and they must resist the temptation to let in hordes of visitors, their pockets bulging with dollars.
‘The Galapagos are the crown jewel, and as such, we have to protect them,’ Tourism Minister Enrique Ponce de Leon told AFP. ‘We must be drastic in caring for the environment.’”

The 26,000 residents and stewards of the Galapagos (and you can’t become a resident until you have been married to one for 10 years) have defined the character of this special place thusly:

“The environmental, social and biological features of this place—which is like no other—forces us to set a limit, to manage tourism in terms of supply, rather than demand,” said Walter Bustos, director of the Galapagos National Park.

The character rests on the uniqueness of the environmental, social, and biological features which are not found anywhere else. Could the same could be said of Big Sur? although the South Island of New Zealand does share some of our environmental features, our biological and social features are different.

How do you define the “character of place” that is Big Sur??

Read more at:

(Next week we go back to the Destination Stewardship model and explore areas that might work here.)


The National Geographic site I pointed everyone to the last two weeks (found here: suggests that the place to start working toward a tourism which works, might be to define the “character of place” so that sustainable tourism that protects resources – both natural and cultural – and one that enhances the tourist experience while protecting the local one, can be achieved. This is one such study undertaken by a MS candidate in Montana. Interesting to see that much of what the visitors enjoyed about their experience was the rural nature of the area and the interactions with residents. This could serve as a guide for how we might accomplish the same thing here. The University of Montana has provided that anyone can download this scholarly study for free.

At first, it seems intimidating, as it is long, but the author made it interesting by sharing the experiences of the residents and the tourists he spoke with. One observation will definitely resonate with all of us here in Big Sur.

One of the residents had this to say about work-force housing:

”I think that there is a strong sense within our community that we always like it the way it was, and the way it was 20 years ago is much different than the way it was 5 years ago, but that’s the way it was. So we’ll always be seeing those changes and transitions. But one of the big issues is going to be how do people afford to live in this community. The average price of a home is $307,000 currently. That’s not affordable. That’s not workforce housing. So we’ve got to find ways to increase the availability of workforce housing. Not necessarily affordable housing but what is called workforce housing. Unlike Aspen and similar places in Colorado, the one advantage that Whitefish has is that we do have a safety valve in terms of affordability in Kalispell and Columbia Falls. It would be best to have our police and fire and nurses and administrative help, all of the people that are fully and gainfully employed, it would be best to have them here in town, because that’s how we keep that grit. That’s how we keep that hometown flavor.”

And from another resident, a look at the impact of STRs:

“… outspoken residents of Whitefish protested the rising tide of local workers displaced by home prices inflating over the heads of ordinary people. Residents agreed that keeping longtime locals in town is vital to preserving the character of Whitefish. Residents told stories of close friends forced to move out of town to make ends meet, while landlords replace them with summer-only renters solicited on VRBO or Airbnb, “That’s not creating character in town if you don’t actually live in that house,” Roy testified.” (Both quotes can be found on page 38 of the paper.)

There is so much we can learn and apply to our situation by studying the way other tourist destination places have faced or are facing similar problems. Together, through a collaborative effort of sharing what works and what does not, we can all find ways to maintain a sense of community under the pressure of overtourism.

(Next week: The Galapagos.)


From the Destination Stewardship Center:

Our four-part strategy”

Highlight the issues. Tourism is changing the world more than people realize. Our Destination Watch section lists ratings and destination-stewardship news for places around the globe. Please get involved.
Provide Stewardship Resources—information and links to services—to help destinations to improve in terms of authenticity, sustainability, and responsible tourism economy.
To those ends, help places adopt the Geotourism approach, defined as: Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, geology, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.
Help mindful, educated and discerning Geotravelers find access to enjoyable, rewarding, responsible, and enriching trips.
We offer participants a blogging and news aggregation platform with content keyed to these topics.

We invite dedicated people to make this site their own and help save the places we love.

Our invitation: Join us. If we succeed in our mission, it will be because you, the participants, grow the website and its resources (including yourselves) into a self-sustaining entity. Make it your own. We want to build a nonprofit network serving everyone who works where tourism intersects with destination quality.

We invite mission-compatible proposals for partnering, sponsorship, or cooperative ventures. We invite participation by interested individuals—practitioners, civic leaders, sponsors, students, residents, and travelers. Join in and play a role—with blogging, news aggregation, business development, sponsorships, social media and WordPress techniques, content development, online tools, and networking.

Next week I discuss the Character of Place


For the next couple of weeks, i would like to introduce us to a concept and organization with which we might want to work. We have complained, become exacerbated, and tried to find piece-meal solutions to our Overtourism. We need to change the paradigm lens through which we view our visitors to one which is sustainable for the visitor, the residents, and the land itself. I suggest we investigate and perhaps join in with the Destination Stewardship Center. This is at the top of its website:

“Our Mission, Our Goal, Our Invitation
Our mission: To help protect the world’s distinctive places by supporting wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship.

Our goal: Help people find the resources they need to achieve that mission.

WELCOME to the Destination Stewardship Center,
extending the work of National Geographic’s former CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DESTINATIONS.

This website is all about the intersection between stewardship of places and one of the world’s very largest industries: tourism. We gather and provide information on the ways tourism can help—or hurt—distinctive destinations around the world. We seek people who want to join us in building a global community and knowledge network for change.

If you care about great places, if you care about managing tourism so as to enhance places and not spoil them, then this website and collaborative blogging platform is for you. The website is constantly growing and evolving, and you are welcome to join in the process. Help us tell—and improve—the destination-stewardship story.”

Destination Stewardship Center



12 destinations travelers might want to avoid in 2018

Tourism backlash has been in full affect over the last 12 months. Check out which 12 places you should avoid traveling to this year. Can we figure out how to add Big Sur?Read the full story CNN Story here


There is a beach in Australia that has been called the whitest beach in the world. That has created problems for thelocal residents…that and STRs. Only 20% of the homes are now occupied full time. The rest are rented out for holiday.

Many of these Photographs are familiar.


There is much in this article which will resonate with Big Sur. See it here:

Hyams Beach, Australia

Thanks to Annie Haven for sending me this article.

1/9/18 – there was no Tourism Tuesday Report, instead, I wrote about the storm report.


Continuing on with our theme:

The good news, if long overdue, is that tourism media now brim with opinions on how to deal with overtourism.

* Tourism consultant Xavier Font and journalist Elizabeth Becker have articles on the problem in the Guardian.
* Former Nat Geo Traveler editor Norie Quintos has recommendations on crowd-dodging for adventure-travel tour operators.
* Tourism news service Skift has offered its own 5 solutions. Skiff Solutions
* Responsible Travel’s Justin Francis argues that megacruise ships and budget airlines exacerbate the problem, supported by governments that refuse to impose carbon taxes.
* Our own Destination Stewardship Center has several blog posts on the topic, including one by Salli Felton of the Travel Foundation.
* The Independent reports on Amsterdam’s plan for using technology to spread out the crowds.
* WTTC promises to issue a report about overtourism later this year. Commentator Anna Pollock has posted her doubts in a Linkedin essay that urges optimizing tourism, not maximizing it.
Pollock is on to something. Most of those overtourism recommendations merely mitigate the problem. The population explosion has already happened. The term “overtourism” may lose its cachet from overuse, but the problem is here for generations. It cannot be solved until world leaders face a simple geometric reality:

It is impossible to pack infinitely growing
numbers of tourists into finite spaces.

So what to do? A world of more than 7 billion people requires rethinking tourism, namely:

1. Change the prevailing paradigm: More tourism is not necessarily better. Better tourism is better.
2. Governments and industry should therefore abolish the practice of setting tourism goals based only on arrivals.
3. Instead, incentivize longer stays and discourage hit-and-run, selfie-stick tourism.
4. To help do that, destination stakeholders should form stewardship councils that help government and industry plan according to limits of acceptable change.

Entire article here:



“Overtourism has been manifesting itself for over two decades in popular countries like Spain, Italy, and France. But somehow the population pressure hit the red zone this year. Says one colleague, “It’s the topic du jour. The phrase is on the lips of every travel expert, every pseudo-expert, and every travel industry opportunist.”

Residents have raised a chorus of protest: “Too many tourists!”

No surprise. From Barcelona to Venice, from Reykjavik to Santorini, residents have raised a chorus of protest: “TOO MANY TOURISTS!” Plenty of visitors chime in: Not what we came for. How can a visitor experience the delights of a foreign city if the streets are packed with thousands—yes, thousands—of cruise-ship passengers and lined with global franchises to cater to them? Serious travelers increasingly dismiss such places—“too touristy.”

Pressed beyond tolerable limits, some destinations are fighting back. Dubrovnik is instituting severe caps on cruise passengers, as is Santorini. Italy’s Cinque Terre is ready to impose quotas on people hiking between the five picturesque villages. The Seychelles wants to limit hotel sizes to protect their reputation as an Indian Ocean paradise.” (To be Continued next week)



Tourists fill a pathway in Hongcun village, China. Photo: Jonathan Tourtellot

Tourism has a numbers problem

The world’s population explosion has finally arrived. It has manifested itself not in global waves of famine as was feared half a century ago, but in waves of Airbuses, tour buses, and minibuses. Tourists by the millions.

This population explosion overwhelms St Mark’s Square in Venice. It pushes through the streets of Barcelona, angering residents. It forms hours-long queues in China for the cable cars up Mount Huangshan and fills all the lanes in the World Heritage Village of Hongcun (above). It paves the beaches of the Mediterranean in simmering northern European flesh. In the Louvre it blocks your view of the Mona Lisa with forests of smartphones held high in selfie mode. It pushes through the ruins of Tulum in Mexico with busloads of Spaniards, Americans, Chinese. It even creates traffic jams on the climbing routes up Mount Everest.

It has spawned a new word: Overtourism. Too many tourists.

(To be continued in the following weeks, including possible solutions)


“Mass tourism has tipped into overtourism — a word the travel industry has coined to describe too many people in too few places — and backlash in popular destinations is building. In Amsterdam, the mayor has blocked any new souvenir stores or fast-food outlets in the central city. In Barcelona — now the third most popular destination in Europe after London and Paris — there is a ban on new vacation homes. In Venice, protesters blocked a cruise ship from entering the lagoon to dock. Even the pilgrimage Way of St. James has become so overrun that local residents accost hikers with very un-Christian remarks.” …


“Hotels are raising prices and some municipalities are raising tourist taxes to curb the influx, but the home-sharing alternatives undermine that effort. Would restricting budget airlines stem the tide by making access more expensive? Could travel agents do a better job of convincing visitors to come in off-peak seasons? While tourism agencies are excellent at promoting their regions to outsiders, what if they had more responsibility for the management of all those travelers? There’s no easy answer for the question of how to deal with the crush of people in a planet growing ever smaller.”

For the rest of this article see:


A nude group therapy session in 1968 at Esalen, which was once a storied hippie hotel where nudity was the norm.

From the New York Times:

”And so Silicon Valley has come to the Esalen Institute, a storied hippie hotel here on the Pacific coast south of Carmel, Calif. After storm damage in the spring and a skeleton crew in the summer, the institute was fully reopened in October with a new director and a new mission: It will be a home for technologists to reckon with what they have built.”


With the focus on the emotional life of executives, Esalen plans to close Gazebo, its preschool of 40 years.

“It was the soul of the institution of Esalen — all those little babies and what they’re going to be,” said Zoe Garcia, a guest and nearby resident, who has been going to Esalen for 30 years.

The closing is partly a sign of the region’s changing demographics. As more of Big Sur’s homes are bought by tech executives as second homes, there are not as many young children, so the class of 30 had dwindled to 15 before the floods shut it down.

“It’s incredibly sad,” said Cortlan Robertson, whose daughter attended Gazebo and who said the Big Sur community had offered to pay for the preschool to continue. “Ben is always saying it’s just child care. But it was so much more.”

Closing Gazebo was also a sign of a shifting culture and new rules.

For the rest of the article, see

I will refrain from making editorial comments, other than to say this is a travesty. It isn’t just STRs that are changing our community, but 2nd homes, and institutional changes like this. I have heard about Ventana, but haven’t seen the changes, yet. Please feel free to share and comment.


For years, the Grove of Titans was barely more than a myth. Incredibly old. Incredibly large. And incredibly hard to find.

It used to be that the grouping of eight old-growth redwood trees deep within Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park near Crescent City (Del Norte County) could be reached only by following clues in a book about tree hunters. There were no direct hiking trails, and the nearest road was miles away.
Then, in 2011, someone uploaded a geotag marking the trees’ location online. As many as 50 people a day began finding their way to the grove and loving it to death.

The onslaught of tourists bushwhacking through the rain forest is slowly killing the giant trees, park officials say. The damage can be reversed by building elevated walkways and viewing platforms, similar to the ones used at Muir Woods, they say. But it’s going to cost more than $1.4 million.

For the rest of the article, go here:

(Thanks to Susan Layne for pointing me to this article. I felt it was so important, I delayed the others I had planned on posting.)


“Sunset on Santorini. As dusk falls, the crush begins. With the exquisite choreography of a well-honed ritual, coachloads of tourists descend on Oia, the stunning settlement perched on the island’s northern tip. Pushing their way along the village’s packed central alleyway – past shops selling luxury garments, exclusive Greek designers and Jimmy Choo shoes – they have one goal: to glimpse the flaming fireball slip into the sea.”…


“ ‘We have reached saturation point. The pressure is too much,” he sighs, lamenting the lack of economic and environmental sustainability. “Santorini has developed the problems of a city. Our water consumption alone has gone up [by 46%]. We need desperately to increase supplies but that requires studies, which in turn require technicians and that we cannot afford.’

Zorzos has appealed to the authorities in Athens to put a break on the building spree.

In an unprecedented step, he has also capped visitor numbers this year, limiting the number of cruise ship passengers disembarking daily to 8,000 people. Last year 636 ships docked at the island, the country’s most popular cruise destination. There were days when 18,000 passengers arrived, all wanting to see the famous island of narrow lanes and blue-domed churches.

For residents such as Christoforos Asimis, in his 70s, remembering Santorini as it once was has become increasingly difficult. Asimis, a painter and the doyen of the island’s art scene, is frequently forced to draw inspiration from works past when he puts brush to canvas. ‘I never for the life of me imagined there would be traffic jams on this island,’ he says. ‘Any sense of moderation has been buried under concrete. There is absolutely no respect for the environment. The Greek state gets a lot out of tourism, but risks losing everything if the island is destroyed.’…”

For the rest of this article, see



From the New York Times:

VENICE — “You guys, just say ‘skooozy’ and walk through,” a young American woman commanded her friends, caught in one of the bottlenecks of tourist traffic that clog Venice’s narrow streets, choke its glorious squares and push the locals of this enchanting floating city out and onto drab, dry land. “We don’t have time!”
Neither, the Italian government worries, does Venice.
Don’t look now, but Venice, once a great maritime and mercantile power, risks being conquered by day-trippers.

The soundtrack of the city is now the wheels of rolling luggage thumping up against the steps of footbridges as phalanxes of tourists march over the city’s canals. Snippets of Venetian dialect can still be heard between the gondoliers rowing selfie-snapping couples. But the lingua franca is a foreign mash-up of English, Chinese and whatever other tongue the mega cruise ships and low-cost flights have delivered that morning. Hotels have replaced homes.
Italian government officials, lamenting what they call “low-quality tourism,” are considering limiting the numbers of tourists who can enter the city or its landmark piazzas.
“If you arrive on a big ship, get off, you have two or three hours, follow someone holding a flag to Piazzale Roma, Ponte di Rialto and San Marco and turn around,” said Dario Franceschini, Italy’s culture minister, who lamented what he called an “Eat and Flee” brand of tourism that had brought the sinking city so low.
“The beauty of Italian towns is not only the architecture, it’s also the actual activity of the place, the stores, the workshops,” Mr. Franceschini added. “We need to save its identity.”
The city’s locals, whatever is left of them anyway, feel inundated by the 20 million or so tourists each year. Stores have taken to putting signs on the windows showing the direction to St. Mark’s Square or Ponte di Rialto, so people will stop coming in to ask them where to go.

The majority of the anxiety has centered on the cruise ships that pass through the Giudecca Canal, blotting out the landmarks like an eclipse blocking out the sun. (The one shown here isn’t even a big one.)
Some of the roughly 50,000 Venetians who remain in the city, down from about 175,000 in 1951, have organized associations against the “Big Ships,” selling T-shirts that show cruise boats with shark teeth threatening fishermen. In June, almost all the 18,000 Venetians who voted in an unofficial referendum on the cruise ships said they wanted them out of the lagoon.
“One problem is the ships,” said Mr. Franceschini, who called their passage in front of St. Mark’s Square “an unacceptable spectacle.”
But the ships bring in money, and since Venice is not the trading power of yore, it needs all the euros it can get. The cruise ships don’t just bring fees into the city, they also create jobs down a whole supply chain, benefiting mechanics, waiters and water taxis. The gondoliers who change into their striped shirts early in the morning and put sunscreen on their bald heads have steady work

When a visitor, or at least this visitor, arrives at the Venice train station and encounters that iconic watery avenue, a strange sensation occurs of being in the Las Vegas version of Venice rather than in the real thing. Maybe it’s all the luggage, the shopping bags, the lack of Italians.

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From The NY Times this morning:


A tour bus on Hollywood Boulevard in 2015. The Los Angeles City Council is considering regulations to limit the access tour vans have in the Hollywood Hills, a neighborhood with narrow, twisting streets. Credit Chad Ress for The New York Times

Good morning.

Today’s introduction comes from Adam Nagourney, the Los Angeles bureau chief.

It’s not so easy living up in the Hollywood Hills these days. First it was the onslaught of tourists on foot, clogging the narrow, twisting streets as they used GPS devices in search of the Hollywood sign. These days, it’s a louder and more cumbersome intruder: open-air tour vans, pushing through on roads that can barely fit one car, some with loudspeakers blaring dubious claims by the driver. (“And on the left, the house where Humphrey Bogart once lived!”)

Confronted with the anguished concerns of neighbors, the Los Angeles City Council is trying to walk a fine line by responding to upset constituents without hurting tourism, a major economic force here. (And there are few tourist draws as big as the Hollywood sign.) The council is moving to adopt regulations that would require tour operators to give patrons private headphones, getting rid of squawky speakers. And the city is drawing up a list of streets where tour vans would be banned completely.

“You’re talking about over 100 buses every day traveling the small streets of Hollywood Hills,” said Anastasia Mann, the president of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council. “Blocking Mulholland Drive and creating huge hazards. It really gets out of hand.”

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