Sharing my thoughts on over-tourism
Raluca from UpsideDownTravels invited us and some other bloggers to share our thoughts on over-tourism. She also thought that we could raise the awareness on this subject and offer viable solutions for travellers. I gave this subject some thought, so please find my contribution below.
How over-tourism looks like
The world has seen a huge increase in tourism over the last years. I took notice of this fact in crowded Barcelona, where I could not find a single photo without other tourists in it. Also, in Dubrovnik, where I was not able to properly enjoy the beautiful city just because there were always people passing by.
When I visited Prague, the guide told us this: “Please don’t get upset with the Czech people if they don’t treat you so well. It’s because we always have tourists here, it’s always crowded and some of them don’t behave so nicely”.
This got me thinking of what it’s like to live in a city without being able to enjoy a silent sunset or walk on empty streets.
Leaving traces in the countries we visit is not something that we’d want. Instead, we should let the places we visit leave traces in our lives.
Being a responsible traveller
When I visited the Berlin wall I read something that stuck to me: “Many small people who in many small places do many small things that can alter the face of the world.“
I am encouraged to start acting individually for a bigger cause:
1. I choose hotels over home-sharing platforms when I travel
I learned this the hard way, the last time I went to Barcelona. It was after I saw some people protesting that I understood that more than 40% of Barcelona’s tourist apartments are illegal. Because of the big number of tourists, landlords see an opportunity in renting their apartments to tourists instead of local tenants. It’s because tourists spend as much as four times the amount a local tenant does. As a result, a lot of locals struggle to find a place to stay.
Even though the accommodation costs become slightly higher, I’m more than happy to pay the extra money if that means I don’t harm the people living there. If more and more people choose a hotel, the situation will slowly improve.
2. I go to crowded cities off-season
Rome, for instance, is a very crowded city. Because of this, you can spend a lot of your holiday queuing.
I choose to go to popular destinations when the number of tourists is lower, even if it means packing a winter jacket. In the same way, I visited Barcelona (at the end of September), Rome (in January) or Athens (in February) and had a great time. I did not waste my time standing in line to get to the attractions and I could enjoy the cities.
3. I act like a local
I try to blend in. I don’t like to draw attention to myself by being a tourist. This means respecting the places, not being noisy, respecting people, their traditions and their beliefs, even if they are very different from yours.
I recall a video going viral. It was about the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe. Lots of people took pictures of them jumping around on the gravestones and later posted them online. The creator of the viral video photoshopped victims of the Holocaust in each picture. Even if it was very hard to watch, it was only when they saw these photos that they understood the big mistakes they made.
Underrated travel destinations
I was recently astonished by some photos that a friend of mine added on facebook. He went on a trip to Slovenia and he visited Ljubljana and a lot of cities I haven’t heard of before. The pictures he posted and the stories he then told me about his trip convinced me of adding Slovenia to my travel list.
Also, speaking of underrated travel destinations, I recommend Montenegro – which has a breathtaking landscape – and Bosnia – which has an impressive history.
Open-Mic on UpsideDownTravels
The full articole on over-tourism and what other bloggers wrote about this can be found here.