Travel On the World Stage{Overcrowding and Poor Behavior)

Travel On the World Stage{Overcrowding and Poor Behavior)

There are more and more people traveling every year and in many instances, it’s becoming difficult for some popular tourist attraction destinations to deal with the influx of visitors on a daily basis. Much of the problem is caused by visitors who lack respect for the host city or attraction. Travel on the world stage overcrowding and poor behavior has even caused the closure of much-loved attractions.

In many cases, over-tourism is suffocating cities around the world. However, there are ways for tourists to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

VERY FEW HIDDEN GEMS LEFT

With the advent of the internet, there are very few hidden gems left for the adventurous traveler to seek out. As soon as an amazing new destination is found its location spreads like wildfire across the travel websites.

It makes sense that people want to broaden their horizons, but the concept of searching out hidden gems to scratch off a bucket list is exactly the kind of attitude that is perpetuating over-tourism.

This is not a problem that is simply an issue in one segment of world travel destinations. Over-tourism is impacting many cities around the world.

OVER-TOURISM A WORLDWIDE DILEMMA

Peru’s Macha Picchu was once famously known as the lost city of the Incas. However, it has been found to be far too many tourists. It was discovered over 100 years ago and although unknown to most of the world, eventually morphed into a tourist hotspot.

Tourists come by the busloads just so they can say they have found the lost city high up in the Andes. Just last year, over 5000 people on average walked up and down the pathways of Machu Picchu on a daily basis in the peak season months of July and August.

Travel On the World Stage{Overcrowding and Poor Behavior)
Inca ruins are being destroyed by over-tourism

It’s not so much that people visit, it’s the way they behave when they get there. They often do things they should not do. Some people climb ancient structures, mark up the floors, and take stones as souvenirs.

Authorities are beginning to limit the number of visitors at any one time in order to allow security guards to monitor the tourists who are misbehaving.

Scotlands Scenic Isle of Skye is another example of tourism that has gotten out of hand. At one time tourism was not great in Scotland, but over the past several years Scotland has become a tourism hotspot.

Every effort is being made by local officials to limit the number of crowds in an attempt to allow city centers to hold on to their character.

As an example of what media and the internet can do, The North Coast 500, the road traverses the north and west of Scotland was heavily marketed and the results were sensational once travel media picked up on it. All of a sudden a four-month travel season became ten months and the businesses along the route can hardly cope.

There isn’t enough accommodation, toilets, or parking.

This once quiet hidden gem of the travel world is now part of the world’s bucket list.

Amsterdam’s Red Light District  has a very tolerant attitude to the use of drugs and of prostitution. So many people visit Amsterdam that they have begun to ask tourists too so somewhere else. Almost 20 million people visit Amsterdam every year, and the citizens want their city back.

The city has tried many things to discourage tourists. They have increased hotel taxes, prevented more tourists shops from opening, and have even banned tours of the red light district.

Travel On the World Stage{Overcrowding and Poor Behavior)
There is much more to Amsterdam besides the Red Light District.

Locals feel like prisoners in their own homes on the weekends especially. Many tourists start drinking early in the day and by night are throwing up in people’s yards, urinate in the streets, and scream. The city has taken steps to warn tourists to stop drinking in the streets and taking pictures of the sex workers.

Most of the problems take place in the red-light district because many tourists think that Amsterdam is a place where anything goes. Many of the sex workers are against the city’s decision to stop tours to the area. As one sex worker said, “most of the girls don’t mind the tours and are just interested in making a living.”

Still, the deputy mayor believes it’s wrong to see sex workers as a tourist attraction, and would like to see tourists visit other parts of the city besides the red-light district. Most of all, he would like tourists to realize that people live in the streets surrounding the red-light district and they shouldn’t constantly have to put up with rude behavior.

IT’S A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP

The people who live in countries that depend on tourism to boost their economy often end up in a love/hate relationship with the influx of tourists.

They love to have them visit their city or country because the money they spend provides locals with a source of income. On the other hand, they hate the way many tourists behave when they do arrive.

Travel On the World Stage{Overcrowding and Poor Behavior)
Las Vegas has a love/hate relationship with tourists.

I’ve seen it myself many times. It’s no different in St. Thomas in the Caribbean USA Virgin Islands, Hawaii, or Las Vegas. All are major tourism hubs that rely on tourist because they do so much for the economy. However, there always seems to be an underlying feeling of discontent amongst the locals of these major tourism centers.

All these places that are inundated with tourists suffer from overcrowding, littering, drunkenness, and general disrespect of the local culture.

So what can people do in order to make themselves more welcome in the tourist hotspots of the world?

HOW TO BE A BETTER TOURIST

The UN World Tourism Organization estimates that there were 1.4 billion tourist arrivals in 2018. In 1950 there were just 25 million, and by 2008 the number was 636 million, It’s estimated that by 2030 the number will be 1.8 billion. Much of the increase is blamed on a middle class that is constantly growing, much cheaper airfare, and the tourism targets set by local governments.

Another major reason is social media. People will take selfies of themselves at tourist spots around the world and plaster it on the internet for the world to see. It’s thought that this behavior could be a major cause of over-tourism.

Travel On the World Stage{Overcrowding and Poor Behavior)
Some tourists dominate areas of the Berlin Wall so they can take numerous selfies.

As one traveler said, it was almost impossible to get close to the Berlin Wall because so many groups of young people were taking selfies and monopolizing the space.

The question is, do people want to go to a place to enjoy or do they just want to go so they can show others that they have been there? In effect, it becomes a superficial holiday. For example, do people go on an Alaskan cruise to enjoy the beauty of it, or to brag to others that they have been there?

People should have a plan as to what they want to do and see when they travel, instead of seeing something for the sake of seeing it, even though they are not all that interested. As a result, you get places like the Louvre inundated with tourists who have no idea they’re seeing.

Travel On the World Stage{Overcrowding and Poor Behavior)
Travel to Alaska for the natural beauty, and not just so you can say you went there.

Instead of taking a trip and blindly going through the motions, people should research their holiday destination. Just perhaps it would be more of a memorable holiday to spend a week in a city like Rome, Paris, or Amsterdam and see the entire city instead of just the tourist traps that everyone goes to.
Mass Tourism At a Tipping Point

PLAN BETTER AND BE BETTER

It doesn’t matter if you are a first time tourist or a seasoned traveler, you can be a better visitor when you arrive at your destination.

The considerate tourist will make a point to be well-researched when it comes to a specific holiday destination. They will be respectful and genuinely curious about the destination. Stay away from the “selfie culture” and “bucket list” way of thinking. When you visit a foreign destination keep in mind that people live there full time.

Treat the attraction or city you visit as you would your own home and not as a hidden gem that you toss money at in order to enjoy a certain experience you feel entitled to.

Ultimately, traveling is a privilege. There is no such thing as the right to travel.

ALSO READ: WOMEN WHO TRAVEL SOLO

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Good day

    I really appreciate this article. I grew up in South Africa and therefore was raised with nature around me and I still feel a big anger in myself when I travel around the world and see litter thrown around, because tourist just does not care.

    I think we can all learn to be better tourists.

    Keep informing people, you are doing a great Job.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It is very depressing to see the way some people behave when I travel. I agree that we can all do better as tourists.

  2. Hey there Ray,

    This is a serious issue you are dealing with in this post. And it has two sides: the tourist side and the local side. 

    As a tourist, I try to behave like being at home. I wouldn’t like to do anything I wouldn’t do at home. And I think this is the way to behave when abroad.

    As a local, I don’t live in a tourist area, but I visit them often, especially in the summer season, when tourism is at its peak. And it’s true that tourists do things they wouldn’t, under other circumstances, do at home. And the million dollar question is how much of this behavior is the community willing to tolerate, in exchange for tourism and profits. There are many identical beach tourist resorts in the Mediterranean Sea, for example, offering an identical tourist product. How do they differentiate? How do they attract (if they want to, that is) more upscale tourists? Do they want to make their tourist product more lucrative to upscale tourism? These are questions each and every one of these resorts needs to answer before complaining about bad tourist behavior.   

    My 2 cents 🙂

    Marios

    1. Thank you for your comment. Many cities and world-wide attractions have admitted to advertising their venues to increase tourism, but in many cases, they created a monster. With the advent of social media, it doesn’t take much to get people excited about visiting places that have seldom been on their radar. It becomes part of their “bucket list” to see that one singular attraction.

      If tourists take selfies of the Berlin Wall or Red-Light District in Amsterdam that’s what social media sees and that’s where they focus when they visit. They forget that there is much more to these cities than just one or two attractions.

  3. People love to travel! Seems like more now than ever, folks are visiting other countries. (myself included). Traveling could be a good fun-time adventure alike. Of course, all countries seem to have their ‘red-light’ districts! These are the first areas most single men travelers will seek out first. (..this is what my friends and i do when we travel). 

    It seems like this part is the most fun part of the trip! But there are other beautiful parts to every international city!

    1. Thank you for your comment! Yes, I am sure it is fun to go the red light districts all over Europe, but I think what the individual cities are saying is that there is so much more to them than one district. They would rather people visit their entire country and city and not just plan a two-day holiday just to party and act up at the red light district.

  4. Nice article on Travel On the World Stage. It Definitely gives you something to think about and looks at tourism from a different light. I do agree that the popular places do get very overcrowded. I live in Western Australia and we have some of the best beaches in the world, unfortunately at times it can be near impossible to get a spot to even set up an relax at the popular spots. I agree that people need to plan trips better and act accordingly in certain countries, I disagree on the social media aspect, if people want to take selfies and go to a place just to say they have been there on social media, then so be it.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, I can see where many people live and die by selfies. I have never taken one in my life. If I travel, I take images of the amazing things I see and experience. To me, that is more important than having myself in the image to impress others. However, I am not from the world of social media and don’t even know how most of it works.

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