Home › Forums › Stuff to Talk About › Tourism is Destructive : Discuss (and Solve!)
- This topic has 6 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Ashley.
Here we welcome your thoughts and responses about how to resolve the issues raised in this post.
Okay – I’m just trying to figure out how this works (new thing – fora!). So here’s what a friend wrote to me after she read the post (just to push along a discussion)(And, okay, to show that I’m not making it up):
“That’s exactly how I felt while I was there. Honored to be there. Really taken care of. A place that I didn’t think existed anymore. Incredible interactions with the local folks, thanks to you (I think). Amazing extreme hospitality, which is clearly just what happens there. Radical hospitality (better way to say it). At one point when we went into the town, I know we had been there before, but I really looked around and realized, this is an actual town. I could stay in a hotel – what a totally weird and completely different experience that would’ve been. It would have seemed so arms-length. I felt like I was part of the fabric of the place. You can’t put a price on that. Can you even really offer that to people.? Not to very many, I don’t think. But what a wonderful, incredible gift if you can. and if anyone can do it, it’s you.”Emmanuel
I wonder if this can be partially combatted through a local approach. Is there a way of presenting the dangers of overtourism to local hosts that presents them with the destructive reality and leaves a bitter taste in their mouths, without glazing over the reality that mass tourism CAN represent an important economic gain. A binder with photos of places overrun with tourists, complaints from residents in Venice, etc.
Could we design a workshop or exercise that allows people to assign a symbolic value to a tradition, object or experience representative of the valley (stupid example, but picking berries or harvesting walnuts). Then, during the exercise they are faced with tourist $$, ask would you trade never picking berries peacefully again for the present financial gain? This would help people put a price on the value of their traditions, and raise their prices to reflect this protection.
We can also use Nepal as a case study, where it is common for foreigners to pay a higher price than locals; it is also well explained to foreigners why they pay a higher price.
Thanks Ashley – I really appreciate the input!
I guess I feel like it’s kind of two problems – supply AND demand. You’re talking about influencing the suppliers . . . but I dunno. I feel like they need cash so desperately, that any discussion which starts out “would you consider limiting your income” is not going to be a HUGE success.
I mean, they wouldn’t be building large (and ugly) if they weren’t being constantly pressured to keep prices low. There are so many examples. One guide told me recently that he’s probably going to be fired by an agency because one of his tourists wrote a 2 page long complaint about him, because he forced her to “pay for her lunch, even though it was included in the tour.” Fact is, what was included was a packed lunch – which she got – but they stopped by a family who gave this woman fli (that crepe pie sort of thing that takes 3 hours to cook) and a bunch of other stuff – on TOP of the lunch she already had. The guide insisted she should leave 300 lek for the family (about 2 euro), and the woman was FURIOUS. I mean, that woman was clearly demented, but I hear it over and over again. Things like “well, your road isn’t asphalted, so we don’t think we should pay 10 euro to sleep here.” And then there are the people who just dicker for discounts cause it makes them feel clever. A Czech once told me we should make our prices higher so that we can always offer a discount, cause that’s what Czechs expect. In fact I remember a Czech on a bazillion dollar motorcycle, covered head to foot in leather (which I imagine is expensive?) shaking his head at me because I wouldn’t give him a 100 lek (50 cent) discount on his room – as if I were being completely unreasonable. And if it comes to THAT, I also remember Albanian employees of the EU Delegation throwing massive fits because they had to pay the VAT (sales tax).
In the face of all this constant whining and carping, I don’t imagine that the threat of becoming Venice (no matter how keenly *I* worry about that – and I do) will encourage people here to stand up for themselves. I’m afraid their response would be “We should be so lucky to have the problems of Venice.”
I DO like the Nepal example though (or just the other day someone was telling me that in Bhutan, you have to pay 200 euro just to BE there – nice!). I mean comparative or scaled pricing doesn’t work yet, because already, even with ridiculously low prices, locals couldn’t afford them anyhow (and the hotels couldn’t afford to operate on scaled LOWER prices) but some kind of universal explanation of why you should pay a reasonable price (and stop whining about it) is a good idea.Ashley
Saw this concept in the new edition of Fields and Stations: https://nanotourism.org/definition
To study & see how we can implement?