Over-tourism and travel

Over-tourism and travel

Over-tourism is one of the key issues in travel today

A story in the visionary work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy describes a planet dealing with the rigours of over-tourism in the galactic travel industry.    For years, the fabulously beautiful planet of Bethselamin increased its booming tourist industry without any worries at all. Sadly, this was an act of utter stupidity, as it led to a colossal cumulative erosion problem. Of course, what else could one expect with ten billion tourists per annum? “Today the net balance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete while on the planet is surgically removed from your body when you leave.   So every time you go to the lavatory there, it is vitally important to get a receipt.”

This may be a little extreme, even for the inhabitants of Venice, Barcelona or even New Zealand, but over-tourism is certainly one of the key issues in travel today.    The travel industry is obviously keen to embrace larger numbers of tourists and travellers.    However, in many cases the recipient cities or countries of these booming numbers are seeing the bad sides as well as the benefits.   Barcelona now echoes to the sound of millions of trundling suitcases at all times of day and night.  Venice is trying to ban people sitting down on bridges and Edinburgh wants a transient levy.   Even Everest’s popularity has led some to say that the national flower of Nepal is now the plastic bottle.

Tax the solution?

A lot of discussion has centred around using local taxes.   The key debate is here whether these are to punish or deter over-tourism or to be spent wisely to accommodate the extra influx of visitors.   Similarly, should such taxes be set at a flat rate or percentage, especially for hotel rooms? The flat rate can be seen to punish those hotels at the lower price range as it will be a greater percentage of the cost.   Does that lead to an elite-ness of tourism? Where taxes are imposed, are they used as extra funds to cope with increased numbers and strains on resources?    Do they just displace funds that the authorities should already provide? If you pay an extra 1% on your hotel bill, who is to make sure that it goes to cleaning litter off the streets of London or plastic bottles from the beaches of Bali?

Rationing beauty

At the other end of the scale there are those areas which are preserved from the very mass tourism we are talking about.  National parks such as the Scandola National park in Corsica, accessible only by boat where those lucky to visit can dive in a sea redolent of the Mediterranean thousands of years past.    Visitors come and go but are not even allowed onto the land, such is the protection of the reserve. A beautiful experience and a privilege to be sure but hardly an answer to the pressures of over tourism.

So what to do?    Here at Trippki, we want you to travel: for leisure, for work, for family and friends, for adventure, for experience.   Obviously it’s our business, but we believe travel is far too important to be seen simply as a business. It’s about connections, real human connections, creating a network.    In these days of “social” media and cameras that face your face, a human network is all the more important for basic, planetary human relations.

Talk to Trippki

We want to start a debate with you, the Trippsters.   What do you think?   We’ll be writing about it regularly but we want to hear from you. How can we all travel without damaging the very reason for our travel?    How can we appreciate the planet without harming it? We’re going to be looking for answers from you, the Trippster community. Join us at www.trippki.com and join the debate.    Trippki – for a better world.

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