Destructive Tourism

Destructive+Tourism

A'Viyon Robinson, Editor

There’s no denying that people love vacationing. Whether it be a seven-day stay in Europe or a month long hike through South America, there is always an abundance of tourists to be seen in any given area of the world throughout the duration of the year. But what happens when tourism becomes overwhelmingly unpleasant for the residents of these locations? Or,  instead of enjoying these foreign destinations, vacationers start to bring down the beauty and allure of them?

This very thing is happening in cities around the world. Countries like Brazil and Barcelona are beginning to question whether tourism is a greater detriment to their societies than it is beneficial. Each year, foreign countries and cities receive millions of tourists, with such locations as Paris and Spain having more than 80 million visitors yearly. 

With the grand influx of vacationers in these areas, it is assumed that they are warmly welcomed. Tourism is a major part of many economies after all; it creates employment and spreads cultural awareness. Much of the money gained from tourism is also funneled back into the community, allowing for roads and airports to be built, as well as national attractions to be restored and protected.
However, amidst the money being made, there is still a big price to pay as a result of tourism. Overcrowding puts an enormous amount of stress on locals, as well as the local environment. Roads become stalled, costly new buildings and structures are erected, and the quiet and quaint little restaurants and hangout spots become overrun with tourists hoping to get the perfect Instagram-worthy picture.Tourists also leave destruction in their wake. Thousands of pounds of trash are left on beaches, along hiking trails, and in local parks, which is largely in part due to careless visitors. Water use also skyrockets during vacation seasons; the average golf course uses as much water as a town of 60,000 rural visitors would use. This in itself is a detriment to the environment, and if left unchecked could spell out major trouble for these nations. 

This begs the question: what will countries do to combat destructive tourism? Some countries have already made strides to limit visitors. India, for example, has strict regulations for American tourists, such as requiring contact information for references in the United States and a mandatory month’s notice before processing a visa. Other places like Italy have opted to fine tourists for lewd behavior and improper dress. Rules and regulations can even go so far as banning certain individuals from ever revisiting a country break laws or cause undue damage to the locations that they are visiting.

While tourism has many wondrous effects for highly-frequented countries, the negative results are just as startling. Overcrowding, property destruction, and environment strain are just a few of the consequences of our modern practice of overtourism. If left unevaluated, vacationing as we know it may sadly cease to exist.