Is travel always a good thing? That’s the question ringing in the ears of travel bloggers right now, in the wake of several anti-tourism news stories.
Locals in many tourist hot-spots are starting to feel that, whilst it brings in money for businesses, tourism is not working for the average person and is having a detrimental effect on their lives.
In places where things are clearly going wrong, here at Resfeber, we believe that travel blogs could have the answer.
If travel bloggers come together as a collective force to inform their readers of issues, how to travel ethically and places to avoid, then wouldn’t that be a great force to helping locals and visitors to work well together?
We’ve always been of the point of view, that there is no point in travelling the world, if you are ruining it as you go.
It is our responsibility as travellers, to understand what effects we are having in each of the places we visit. For example: Whilst renting an Airbnb might be fine in less touristy city, it probably isn’t in overcrowded, high-cost–rent cities like London, Edinburgh, Mallorca or Barcelona.
We each need to draw the line where we think is right and be considerate. That is what ethical travel is all about. For us, we not only want to travel ethically ourselves but help others to do it too.
What is going wrong and where?
Croatia: in Dubrovnik, cruise ships docking in the city are causing a huge amount of traffic and pollution in the city. As the cruisers eat and sleep on their ships they are not spending much money in the city and locals claim they are causing more damage than they are worth. In Hvar, antisocial behaviour from drunken party tourists, have caused the local govt to introduce large fines for bad behaviour.
Solution: Boycott cruise ships that go through Dubrovnik. Avoid Hvar for party tourism.
Holland: In Amsterdam, protesters broke into and squatted in the flat of a CEO of a popular hotel booking website, in protest at rent rises. Locals argue that many apartments are being used for holiday lets instead of local housing.
Solution: Use hotels and hostels. Many holiday apartments are being let illegally to tourists.
Iceland: Defecating in public, stealing road signs and even stealing a lamb to be cooked on a barbecue are just a few of the horrid actions of tourists that have angered locals people in Iceland.
Solution: Promote respectful tourist behaviour.
Italy: Again, cruise ships docking in the city are causing a huge amount of traffic and pollution in the city. As the cruisers eat and sleep on their ships they are not spending much money in the city and locals claim they are causing more damage than they are worth.
Solution: Support the cruise ship ban, which comes into effect in 2022.
Philipines: The Boracay beach resort area has been closed for six months to allow for it to recover from over-tourism.
Solution: Avoid mass-tourism destinations in Philippines.
Spain: There have been multiple protests over mass tourism in Spain, causing housing shortages and rents to become unaffordable. Holiday apartments without a tourism licence on sites like Airbnb are now subject to huge fines.
Solution: Only book hotels or apartments that have a registered tourism licence in Spain.
Scotland: In Edinburgh, the local council’s focus on the tourism and events trade has caused rents to become unaffordable for local people earning minimum wage. Local businesses in the Old Town area have been priced out by tourist shops.
Solution: Support the introduction of a tourism tax to fund affordable social housing for locals.
Thailand: The former set of the Leonardo di Caprio film ‘The Beach’ has had to close, due to environment damage from tourists. Sustained sex-tourism continues to degrade locals, as wealthy western men exploit Thai women for sex. There are also numerous human rights issues and animal treatment continues to be well below international standards in Thailand.
Solution: A complete tourism boycott of Thailand is often suggested, but at least travel with caution.
With protests in many cities in Europe taking place, we cannot afford to ignore anti-tourism. If we do, at some point we will end up being confronted by it.
It will be difficult to enjoy your travels, if you are mixing with locals who think you are selfishly harming their living standards. For that reason, we are asking our fellow travel bloggers to join us, to help our readers travel in a way that respects and helps local people.
We all love spending time on the road. There’s no reason that we should need to stop that. We just need to be a mindful of how we travel, to ensure a harmonious trip.