mass tourism – Newton County MO Tourism http://newtoncountymotourism.org/ Sat, 22 Jan 2022 10:34:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-57.png mass tourism – Newton County MO Tourism http://newtoncountymotourism.org/ 32 32 The end of mass tourism https://newtoncountymotourism.org/the-end-of-mass-tourism/ Thu, 09 Dec 2021 05:01:00 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/the-end-of-mass-tourism/ In addition to the usual requests for car rentals and hotel reservations, European low-cost airline Ryanair is now offering customers the option of paying carbon offsets when booking online. For those unfamiliar with the term, a carbon offset is meant to offset the fossil fuel emissions from your trip, a kind of eco-indulgence for the […]]]>


In addition to the usual requests for car rentals and hotel reservations, European low-cost airline Ryanair is now offering customers the option of paying carbon offsets when booking online. For those unfamiliar with the term, a carbon offset is meant to offset the fossil fuel emissions from your trip, a kind of eco-indulgence for the environmentally conscious. You can select your compensation right after downloading your mandatory Covid documentation, which includes, depending on your country of origin, a vaccination passport, a negative Covid test, and an official registration of your home address and where you will be staying. .

It is not difficult to see where this is going. The second half of the 20e century was not only a time of mass abundance, but a time of mass tourism. At least in the developed world, middle and working class families have become accustomed to recreational travel. Now, however, the economic system that gave us the motel, campground, and annual summer vacation is fading just as new barriers to international tourism, from Covid restrictions to environmentalism, have emerged. .

At the end of the 19e and early 20e for centuries the archetype of the foreign tourist was a sophisticated wealthy, often British, perhaps with an amateur interest in painting or architecture or travel writing. Wealthy Americans would embark on major European tours, a formative experience for young Theodore Roosevelt, whose wealthy family could afford the expense of extended continental vacations.

The post-war boom changed everything. Peace, paid vacations, the automobile, and decades of post-war growth in the United States and Europe created a new class of budget vacationers, who in turn spurred the creation of travel agencies. travel, charter buses, motels and guesthouses, and other services to facilitate middle-class tourism. Exotic destinations like the French Riviera, the Amalfi Coast and Saint-Tropez suddenly gained an international reputation, aided and encouraged by mass media and popular films.

In 1960, most Western Europeans had two weeks of paid vacation. In the early 1950s, according to historian Tony Judt, French tourists in Spain numbered thousands. In 1964, 7 million people visiting every summer. In the early 1970s, more than 6 million tourists visited Western Europe every year the Yugoslav coast. The American middle class has experienced a boom similar trips.

From “tourist traps” to family vacation packages to stereotypes of loud Americans, photo-crazed Japanese and pastry Britons making their seasonal migration to sunny Spain, generations of travelers have lived through this era of travel. abroad. But can a pre-pandemic system built on widely shared prosperity and stupendous consumption of fossil fuels survive into the mid-21 decades?st century?

Navigating a world of virtual restaurant menus, electronic vaccine passports, and mandatory document downloads will almost certainly prove to be overwhelming for older travelers. The increased vulnerability of older people to Covid may also dampen their enthusiasm for vacations abroad, even after the threat of the disease has receded.

Young people and tech-savvy people are likely to find this new environment more welcoming, but if carbon offsets, health-related flight cancellations, and negative antigen testing become standard operating procedure, air travel will soon become prohibitive for people. most of them. And while young people are more comfortable breaking through electronic barriers, the digital life can undermine their desire for international adventure. Gory video games seem to have reduced our appetite for violence and pornography almost certainly reduced our appetite for sex. Social media platforms like Instagram could do something similar to travel.

Airlines and the tourism industry are not about to disappear, but their business models and customer profiles will begin to conform to new economic realities. Tourism will return to its roots as a luxury good, and for those who can afford carbon indulgences and enough upgrades to avoid invasive health and safety checks, travel will become an extravaganza instead of a annual ritual of the middle class.

Already, the travel industry seems to be moving in this direction. Family packages and economy class plane tickets are out; ecotourism, charming hotels and personalized services like Airbnb are there. In the United States, travel to national parks during the pandemic era exploded as European countries like Hungary and Italy launched campaigns to promote sightseeing within their own borders. Domestic tourism and “stays” become consolation prizes for those who cannot afford to go abroad.

International tourism may rebound quickly after the pandemic has receded, but the rigidity of the post-9/11 security theater sets a suggestive precedent. The relatively minor threat of a spectacular terrorist attack has given us 20 years of mandatory airport shoe inspections, TSA pat-downs, and endless security lines. A disease on the verge of becoming endemic, and with a far wider impact than the attacks of September 11, will it quickly disappear from public consciousness? A more likely outcome is the permanent addition of health protocols to our routine security checks, to be avoided by those savvy and affluent enough to pay for various officially sanctioned shortcuts (a Covid version of TSA’s CLEAR program, which allows travelers to pay to bypass security by downloading personal biometric data, seems inevitable).

Carbon offsets and other environmental restrictions are not yet mandatory, but elite consensus is rapidly evolving in the direction of restricting air travel.Flygskam—Swedish for “flight blur” —was shorthand for feeling guilty about traveling by plane. Popular travel sites help environmentally conscious consumers find alternatives to theft. An Explanator of the Green New Deal Posted on the progressive sweetheart’s website, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the program aims to make air travel “unnecessary.” A report from the World Economic Forum on eco-friendly air travel carefully points out that there is a ‘cost difference’ between old-fashioned jet fuel and sustainable alternatives, but remains silent on who will bear that cost when airlines switch at the Green light. The likely answer is that travelers will pay in the form of“Green flight functions” a solution that has already been proposed in the UK The World Economic Forum report helpfully notes that “corporate flyers” have shown a willingness to pay extra for environmentally friendly transport.

This last aside is revealing. Those most likely to travel in the future (wealthy, young, educated, environmentally conscious and probably business-minded) are also more likely to accept new environmental and health restrictions and incur new travel costs. The older and poorer will be left behind, literally and figuratively, as the idea of ​​an annual beach vacation abroad becomes a distant memory.

Changes within the travel industry are lagging indicators of broader economic and cultural changes in Western society. According to the Brookings Institution, America’s middle class has shrunk dramatically over the past few decades while the upper middle class has grown. The tastes and prejudices of upper-middle-class consumers, who already exert a disproportionate influence as creators of cultural tastes and custodians of elite institutions, are now reshaping tourism. The result will be a travel industry that prioritizes environmental and public health concerns over affordability.

The EU smells badly among conservatives, but there was (was?) Something slightly miraculous about the Schengen zone, which allowed free movement of citizens in most member states before the pandemic. Some of Schengen’s most enthusiastic supporters believed it was a model for a global society without borders. Instead, it looks like the last breath of the era of mass tourism, a relic from an era before global pandemics, economic stagnation, environmental alarmism and the resurgence of nationalism.

What comes next can be more depressing than all the cheap motels and dingy campgrounds put together. On a recent trip to Italy, I came across a McDonalds at Milan Central Station hoping for a quick meal. I was greeted by a masked and gloved health inspector who checked the QR code on my vaccination card before giving me a red verification sticker. All orders were made through electronic kiosks; employees barely exchanged words with customers as they assembled and handed out Big Macs behind a huge plexiglass shield. Everyone wore masks and pretty much everyone was hunched over a phone while they waited for their orders. Many never bother to take off their wireless headphones. If this is the future of affordable travel, who will bother to pay for the tickets?

In a parallel universe, Mark Zuckerberg had just announced the rebranding of Facebook to “Meta”, with a cringe-worthy video of his new virtual reality platform. Coincidentally, the World Economic Forum recently suggested that virtual reality tourism could become a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to real-world travel. The Zuckerbergs of the world aren’t about to give up their private jets, and the well-heeled employees of companies like Facebook – sorry, “Meta” – will almost certainly continue to vacation in exotic foreign destinations. For everyone else, the allure of digital life and the indignities of class travel steer clear of the 21st century will make mass tourism a thing of the past.

Will collins is a teacher in Budapest, Hungary.


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Opinion: Mass tourism and population growth have hidden costs https://newtoncountymotourism.org/opinion-mass-tourism-and-population-growth-have-hidden-costs/ Mon, 18 Oct 2021 15:29:41 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/opinion-mass-tourism-and-population-growth-have-hidden-costs/ Readers are cautioned that the OP-eds do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Loop Cayman. by “Citizen concerned” Tourism is one of the main financial pillars of the Cayman Islands. It provides jobs, keeps Seven-Mile Beach restaurants and bars busy, and puts money in the pockets of hard-working taxi drivers and other tour […]]]>


Readers are cautioned that the OP-eds do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Loop Cayman.

by “Citizen concerned”


Tourism is one of the main financial pillars of the Cayman Islands. It provides jobs, keeps Seven-Mile Beach restaurants and bars busy, and puts money in the pockets of hard-working taxi drivers and other tour operators. Income notwithstanding, I think there are hidden costs of tourism that can impact the environment and infrastructure.

The first tourist attraction I think of when the environment is mentioned is Stingray City. COVID-19 has now given stakeholders a moment to pause and consider what is happening to stingrays and how to ensure their well-being. It doesn’t have to be just a moment of thought. A long-term action plan must be implemented.

Without a long-term plan for Stingray City, tourists will be greeted en masse and Stingray City will be crowded again. From a layman’s point of view, my opinion is that such overcrowding is not good for stingrays or their home. I think an appropriate course of action would be to change the laws that govern water activities to restrict the number of boats or guests inhabiting the sandbank at any given time.

Congestion is also a problem closer to the mainland. For example, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic, parts of Seven-Mile Beach looked like a cricket pitch with hundreds of tourists crammed into small spots on the beach. The beach experience also changed, turning into a market for vendors where the focus was on selling beach chairs and food rather than ensuring a unique and enjoyable tourist experience.

In addition to the overloading of natural habitat, overwhelming pressure is also exerted on infrastructure, especially in the case of traffic. This was noticeable when large cruise ships came and thousands of visitors descended on George Town, complicating the existing traffic problem.

Even if traffic should be diverted to other routes on touristy days, there are limited alternatives for traffic, meaning back-to-back traffic is inevitable. This problem will be exacerbated by any future pursuit of mass tourism and the lack of an effective mass transport plan.

An appropriate mass transport plan would include 24-hour buses, dedicated bus lanes, reliable taxi timetables, secure disembarkation points, park-and-ride options, and the incorporation of other incentives to reduce traffic. number of vehicles on the road at the same time.

With 400 cars imported to the Caymans each month before COVID, additional car use by visiting workers and staying tourists, vehicle emissions and pollution are also valid concerns. Unfortunately, these concerns are difficult to measure because Cayman does not appear to perform advanced monthly air emissions tests to calculate continued damage to the environment or to our health.

Unfortunately, emissions are not the only consequence of all of these vehicles. With more tourists and more driving, faster wear and tear on our roads is inevitable. The normal life of roads may therefore be shorter and more frequent road repairs may be required. These are additional costs borne by the government.

Cars used by tourists and others get old as well. They are either added to the landfill or left on the side of the road as abandoned vehicles.

Abandoned vehicles add to the growing litter / litter problem, which itself has been exacerbated by the increasing number of visitors and the rapid increase in population. These problems, in turn, were compounded by the dragging of policy makers to implement effective solutions.

While policymakers may have been seen in the past as making slow progress in resolving local issues, quick resolutions were found for incoming investors who wanted to settle in the Caymans and do business here. This has often been done in the form of a Local Business Control License (LCCL), which does not require any Caymanian ownership. As the population has grown, the increased delivery of more LCCL has gone unnoticed.

The reason Caymanians should pay attention to LCCLs is that they are normally granted for a period of 12 years and then renewed. However, owners tend to bring their foreign staff to the Caymans to work in companies and Caymanians will not necessarily benefit from a job at a new LCCL company. The hidden cost here may not be obvious in dollar terms, but it is in terms of lost opportunities for Caymanian jobs.

In my opinion, if the marginalization of Caymanians continues as the population grows rapidly, the greatest hidden costs for Caymanians will be decreased participation in economic growth and reaping fewer economic benefits. If this happens, then in the long run the Caymanians will only be able to survive at the bottom of the economic ladder.

The same will be true if the prospects for mass tourism are explored in the future and the majority of the profits fall into the hands of a few large hospitality players. With regard to the big players dominating the industry, oOne solution that officials may wish to explore is a legal restriction on the issuance of water sports interaction zone licenses and other licenses to Caymanians only.


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Barcelona has high hopes for the return of mass tourism | To travel https://newtoncountymotourism.org/barcelona-has-high-hopes-for-the-return-of-mass-tourism-to-travel/ Mon, 18 Oct 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/barcelona-has-high-hopes-for-the-return-of-mass-tourism-to-travel/ The Catalan capital suffers from a cruel lack of tourists. While city officials are calling for vacationers to return, critics of mass tourism are struggling to make their voices heard. Typically, there are so many tourists at the Sagrada Familia that it’s almost impossible to take a picture without someone stepping into your frame. On […]]]>

The Catalan capital suffers from a cruel lack of tourists. While city officials are calling for vacationers to return, critics of mass tourism are struggling to make their voices heard.

Typically, there are so many tourists at the Sagrada Familia that it’s almost impossible to take a picture without someone stepping into your frame. On this particular autumn day, however, there are few tourists in front of the famous basilica whose facade was designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi. In fact, there are even tickets available on the day. “Normally, that never happens,” says the man at the ticket office, who is visibly bored.

With nearly 5 million visitors a year, the Sagrada Família was Barcelona’s most popular attraction before the coronavirus pandemic hit. It was also the symbol of the rise of mass tourism in the city. 2019 saw a record 14 million holidaymakers visit the city – more than ever.

Between 2010 and 2019, the number of passengers passing through the airport increased from just under 30 million to 53 million. But meanwhile, much of the local population has become resentful of the rapid rise in tourism, leading to regular protests.

Now, however, the situation has changed: the souvenir shop in front of the Sagrada Familia is holding a jumble sale. “Everything for €5,” reads a sign on the door. A block further, Jose Lorenzo has been running a small restaurant that has been in business for 20 years.

It’s lunch time, and before the pandemic, all the tables would have been occupied by this point. Now, however, there is only one person slowly sipping a beer at the bar. Lorenzo says the more tourism, the better for the economy.

“It’s a positive thing when people come – it means they like it here,” he says.

Unusual tranquility in the Gothic Quarter

An unusual calm has also descended on the old town. Before the pandemic, masses of vacationers strolled through the Gothic Quarter any day of the week. Now it is even possible to walk alone in one of the narrow streets and hear the echo of your own footsteps.

The consequences of months without tourists are painfully evident across Barcelona: a number of shops have even closed in one of the city’s most important tourist streets.

“The situation is critical after so many months without real [tourism] activity,” Manel Casals, managing director of the Barcelona Hotel Association, told DW, adding that 40% of hotels remain closed. Normally, an average of 60,000 people stay in the city’s hotels every day during the summer, but this year there were only 13,000. The industry suffered losses of 2.7 billion euros (3, $1 billion) since the start of the pandemic.

“We need to get back to pre-pandemic tourist numbers as soon as possible,” says Casals.

Barcelona needs ‘decentralization of tourism’

“The debate on mass tourism in Barcelona is exaggerated”, defiantly launches Xavier Marce, director of tourism. “We don’t have a problem with the number of holidaymakers, but with the way they are distributed in the city.”

In Barcelona, ​​he says, the sights are mostly in a very small area. This leads to conflicts with residents and unwanted developments, such as the disappearance of traditional retail, he says. In the historic center there are now entire neighborhoods with only souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels.

“What we need is the decentralization of tourism,” says Marce.

The Department of Tourism has launched several projects for this purpose. For example, holidaymakers can now use the Check Barcelona app to see how crowded the most important sights are at any given time. If the lines in front of the Sagrada Família are particularly long, visitors can simply choose to go elsewhere.

The tourist bus, on the other hand, which previously only covered typical attractions, now also passes through neighborhoods almost completely off the beaten track for tourists – such as the former industrial district of Poblenou, which has turned into a trendy and artistic. during the last years.

Activists are losing support, but the fight against tourism is not over

Pere Marine, one of the city’s most vocal critics of mass tourism, has lived in this area for many years. Marine belongs to the powerful association of inhabitants of the city and organized many demonstrations.

The pandemic, however, has somewhat taken the breath away from activists. They had to cancel a planned demonstration at Parc Guell due to lack of participants. Many have suddenly become painfully aware of their reliance on tourism as a business, which accounts for around 13% of the city’s GDP.

“Everyone knows at least someone who is employed in tourism and has struggled,” says Marine.

However, for Marine, the fight is far from over. According to him, the tolerable threshold has been crossed in this record year of 2019. He does not believe that the problem will be solved by simply redirecting the flow of tourists. “Why do tourists come here? They want to see Camp Nou, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia,” he says.

He believes there is no way to reduce the number of beds in hotels and other accommodation. “We want hotels to be converted into social housing,” he says. This would not only mean less accommodation for tourists, but it would also help solve the problem of the lack of affordable accommodation in Barcelona.

No plans to reduce the number of beds

But that’s unlikely to happen: although the city has strictly regulated the approval of new tourist accommodation, there are currently no plans to reduce bed capacity. On the contrary: further growth is possible in neighborhoods outside the city centre. Marce, head of the tourism department, puts it bluntly: “It is not our objective to reduce the number of tourists”.

However, he says efforts are being made to upgrade hotels, which will drive up prices. “The number of tourists then automatically decreases,” he told DW.

Manel Casals from the hotel association is not interested in reducing the number of visitors. Instead, he says, more effort should be made to attract business travelers who spend more and don’t crowd the streets of the historic center. But he also realizes that it will not be an easy task. “There is only one Sagrada Familia in the world,” he says. “Everyone who comes to Barcelona wants to see him.”

And there’s at least one upside to that: the ongoing construction of the basilica has been funded primarily through ticket sales. In fact, the lack of tourists now means its completion has had to be postponed. Work was originally scheduled to be completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Antoni Gaudi’s death, 144 years after construction began in 1882.

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Barcelona has high hopes for the return of mass tourism | DW Travel | DW https://newtoncountymotourism.org/barcelona-has-high-hopes-for-the-return-of-mass-tourism-dw-travel-dw/ Sun, 17 Oct 2021 08:54:02 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/barcelona-has-high-hopes-for-the-return-of-mass-tourism-dw-travel-dw/ Typically, there are so many tourists at the Sagrada Familia that it’s almost impossible to take a photo without someone walking in your frame. On this particular autumn day, however, there are few tourists in front of the famous basilica with its facade designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. In fact, there are even tickets for […]]]>


Typically, there are so many tourists at the Sagrada Familia that it’s almost impossible to take a photo without someone walking in your frame. On this particular autumn day, however, there are few tourists in front of the famous basilica with its facade designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. In fact, there are even tickets for the same day. “Normally, that never happens,” explains the man at the ticket office, who is visibly bored.

With nearly 5 million visitors a year, the Sagrada Família was Barcelona’s most popular attraction before the coronavirus pandemic struck. It was also the symbol of the rise of mass tourism in the city. 2019 saw a record 14 million vacationers visit the city, more than ever.

Between 2010 and 2019, the number of passengers passing through the airport fell from just under 30 million to 53 million. But during this time, much of the local population has become irritated by the rapid rise in tourism, which has led to regular protests.

Many stores have closed in tourist areas in central Barcelona

Now, however, the situation has changed: the souvenir shop in front of the Sagrada Familia is holding a clearance sale. “Everything for 5 €” reads a sign on the door. One street further, Jose Lorenzo runs a small restaurant that has been in existence for 20 years.

It’s lunchtime, and before the pandemic all tables would have been occupied at this point. Now, however, there is only one person slowly sipping a beer at the bar. Lorenzo says the more tourism the better for the economy.

“It’s a positive thing when people come – it means they like it here,” he says.

Unusual tranquility in the Gothic Quarter

An unusual calm also fell on the old town. Before the pandemic, masses of vacationers strolled through the Gothic Quarter any day of the week. Now it is even possible to walk alone in one of the narrow streets and hear the echo of his own footsteps.

The consequences of months without tourists are painfully evident across Barcelona: a number of shops have even closed their doors on one of the city’s most important tourist streets.

“The situation is critical after so many months without real [tourism] activity, ”Manel Casals, managing director of the Barcelona Hotel Association, told DW, adding that 40% of hotels remain closed. Normally, an average of 60,000 people stay in hotels in the city each day during the summer, but this year there have been only 13,000, he said. The industry has suffered losses of 2.7 billion euros ($ 3.1 billion) since the start of the pandemic .

“We need to get back to pre-pandemic tourist numbers as quickly as possible,” Casals said.

Barcelona needs a “decentralization of tourism”

“The debate on mass tourism in Barcelona is exaggerated,” protested Xavier Marce, director of tourism. “We don’t have a problem with the number of vacationers, but with the way they are distributed around the city.”

In Barcelona, ​​he says, tourist sites are mainly located in a very small area. This leads to conflicts with residents and unwanted developments, such as the demise of traditional retail, he says. In the historic center there are now entire neighborhoods with only souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels.

“What we need is the decentralization of tourism,” says Marce.

A portrait of the director of tourism Xavier Marce outdoors.

Tourism director Xavier Marce wants to better distribute visitors throughout the city

The tourism department has launched several projects in this direction. For example, vacationers can now use the Check Barcelona app to see when the most important sites are crowded. If the lines in front of the Sagrada Família are particularly long, visitors can simply choose to go elsewhere.

The tourist bus, which previously only covered typical attractions, now also passes through neighborhoods almost completely off the beaten track for tourists – like the old industrial district of Poblenou, which has turned into a trendy artistic district. during the last years.

Activists lose their support, but the fight against tourism is not over

Father Marine, one of the city’s harshest critics of mass tourism, has lived in this area for many years. Marine belongs to the powerful association of residents of the city and has organized many demonstrations.

The pandemic, however, took the activists’ breath somewhat. They had to cancel a planned event at Parc Guell for lack of participants. Many suddenly became aware of their dependence on tourism as a business, which accounts for around 13% of the city’s GDP.

“Everyone knows at least someone who is employed in tourism and who has gone through difficult times,” says Marine.

A portrait of activist Pere Marine on a street.

Pere Marine continues to fight against mass tourism in Barcelona

All the same, for Marine, the fight is far from over. In his opinion, the tolerable threshold was crossed in this record year of 2019. He does not think that the problem will be solved by simply redirecting the flow of tourists. “Why do tourists come here? They want to see Camp Nou, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia,” he says.

He believes that there is no way to reduce the number of beds in hotels and other accommodation. “We want hotels to be converted into social housing,” he says. This would not only mean fewer places for tourists, but it would also help address the lack of affordable accommodation in Barcelona.

Manel Casals smiles as he sits in his office.

Manel Casals, leader of the hotel association, does not want the number of beds to be reduced

No plans to reduce the number of beds

But that is unlikely to happen: although the city has strictly regulated the approval of new tourist accommodation, there are currently no plans to reduce bed capacity. On the contrary: further growth is possible in neighborhoods outside the city center. The head of the tourism department, Marce, puts it bluntly: “It is not our goal to reduce the number of tourists.

However, he says efforts are being made to improve hotels, which will lead to higher prices. “The number of tourists then automatically decreases,” he told DW.

Manel Casals of the hotel association does not want to reduce the number of visitors. Instead, he says, more should be done to attract business travelers who spend more and don’t clutter the streets of the historic center. But he also realizes that it will not be an easy task. “There is only one Sagrada Familia in the world,” he says. “Everyone who comes to Barcelona wants to see it.”

And there is at least one benefit to that: the ongoing construction of the basilica has been funded primarily through ticket sales. In fact, the lack of tourists has now meant its completion has had to be postponed. The work was originally scheduled to be completed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Antoni Gaudi’s death, 144 years after construction began in 1882.

This article was translated from German


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Barcelona hopes for the return of mass tourism https://newtoncountymotourism.org/barcelona-hopes-for-the-return-of-mass-tourism/ Sat, 16 Oct 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/barcelona-hopes-for-the-return-of-mass-tourism/ Typically, there are so many tourists at the Sagrada Familia that it’s almost impossible to take a photo without someone walking in your frame. On this particular autumn day, however, there are few tourists in front of the famous church with its facade designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. In fact, there are even tickets for […]]]>


Typically, there are so many tourists at the Sagrada Familia that it’s almost impossible to take a photo without someone walking in your frame. On this particular autumn day, however, there are few tourists in front of the famous church with its facade designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. In fact, there are even tickets for the same day. “Normally, that never happens,” explains the man at the ticket office, who is visibly bored.

With nearly 5 million visitors a year, the Sagrada Família was Barcelona’s most popular attraction before the coronavirus pandemic struck. It was also the symbol of the rise of mass tourism in the city. 2019 saw a record 14 million vacationers visit the city, more than ever. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of passengers passing through the airport fell from just under 30 million to 53 million. But during this time, much of the local population has become irritated by the rapid rise in tourism, which has led to regular protests.

Now, however, the situation has changed: the souvenir shop in front of the Sagrada Familia is holding a clearance sale. “Everything for five euros” reads a sign on the door. One street further, Jose Lorenzo runs a small restaurant that has been in existence for 20 years. It’s lunchtime, and before the pandemic all tables would have been occupied at this point. Now, however, there is only one person slowly sipping a beer at the bar. According to Lorenzo, the more tourism, the better for the economy. “It’s a positive thing when people come – it means they like it here,” he says.

Unusual tranquility in the Gothic Quarter

An unusual calm also fell on the old town. Before the pandemic, masses of vacationers strolled through the Gothic Quarter any day of the week. Now it may even happen that you are walking alone on one of the narrow streets and hear the echo of your own footsteps. The consequences of months without tourists are painfully obvious to observe across Barcelona: a number of shops have even closed their doors on one of the city’s most important tourist streets.

“The situation is critical after so many months without any real (tourist) activity,” said Manel Casals, general manager of the Barcelona Hotel Association. DW. Forty percent of hotels remain closed, he added. Normally, an average of 60,000 people stay in hotels in the city every day during the summer, but this year there were only 13,000, he said, adding that the industry had suffered. losses of 2.7 billion euros ($ 3.1 billion) since the start of the pandemic. “We need to get back to pre-pandemic tourist numbers as quickly as possible,” Casals said.

Many sites in a small area

“The debate on mass tourism in Barcelona is exaggerated,” protested Xavier Marce, director of tourism. “We don’t have a problem with the number of vacationers, but with the way they are distributed around the city.” In Barcelona, ​​he says, tourist spots are mostly found in a very small area. This leads to conflicts with residents and unwanted developments, such as the demise of traditional retail, he says. In the historic center there are whole neighborhoods with only souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels now. “What we need is the decentralization of tourism,” says Marce.

The tourism department has launched several projects in this direction. For example, vacationers can now use the Check Barcelona app to see how crowded the most important sites are at any given time. If the lines in front of the Sagrada Família are particularly long, visitors can simply choose to go elsewhere in town. The tourist bus, which previously only covered typical attractions, now also passes through neighborhoods almost completely off the beaten track for tourists – like the old industrial district of Poblenou, which has turned into a trendy arts district. during the last years.

Activists lose their support

Father Marine, one of the most severe detractors of mass tourism, has lived in this area for many years. Marine belongs to the powerful association of residents of the city and has organized many demonstrations. The pandemic, however, took the activists’ breath somewhat. They had to cancel a planned event at Parc Guell for lack of participants. Many suddenly became aware of how they have historically depended on tourism as a business, which accounts for around 13% of the city’s GDP. “Everyone knows at least someone who is employed in tourism and who has gone through difficult times,” says Marine.

All the same, for Marine, the fight is far from over. In his opinion, the tolerable threshold was crossed in this record year of 2019. He does not think that the problem will be solved by simply redirecting the flow of tourists. “Why do tourists come here? They want to see Camp Nou, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia,” he says. He believes that there is no way to reduce the number of beds in hotels and other accommodation. “We want hotels to be converted into social housing,” he says. This would not only mean that there would be fewer places for tourists, but it would also help address the lack of affordable accommodation in Barcelona.

No plans to reduce the number of beds

But that is unlikely to happen: although the city has strictly regulated the approval of new tourist accommodation, there are currently no plans to reduce bed capacity. On the contrary: further growth is possible in neighborhoods outside the city center. The head of the tourism department, Marce, puts it bluntly: “It is not our goal to reduce the number of tourists. However, he says efforts are being made to improve hotels, which will lead to higher prices. “The number of tourists then automatically decreases”, he says. DW.

Manel Casals of the hotel association does not want to reduce the number of visitors. Instead, he says, more should be done to attract business travelers who spend more and don’t clutter the streets of the historic center. But he also realizes that it will not be an easy task. “There is only one Sagrada Familia in the world,” he says. “Everyone who comes to Barcelona wants to see it.”

And there is at least one advantage to that: the ongoing construction of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia has been funded primarily through ticket sales. In fact, the lack of tourists has now meant its completion has had to be postponed. The work was to be completed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Antoni Gaudi’s death, 144 years after construction began in 1882.


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Historic opportunity to abandon the old model of Croatian mass tourism https://newtoncountymotourism.org/historic-opportunity-to-abandon-the-old-model-of-croatian-mass-tourism/ Tue, 12 Oct 2021 05:22:08 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/historic-opportunity-to-abandon-the-old-model-of-croatian-mass-tourism/ October 12, 2021 – The Croatian mass tourism model (if you can even call it a model) could finally be sent into the history books as the country has a historic chance ahead of it to throw this method in the trash and become more sustainable than simply counting the number of arrivals. As Poslovni […]]]>


October 12, 2021 – The Croatian mass tourism model (if you can even call it a model) could finally be sent into the history books as the country has a historic chance ahead of it to throw this method in the trash and become more sustainable than simply counting the number of arrivals.

As Poslovni Dnevnik / Marija Crnjak writes, however successful they considered this tourist season to be due to the sheer volume of overnight stays and income, it was incidental. A lot of things that happen in Croatia end up being totally accidental, and this season we have had a favorable epidemiological picture to thank more than anything else. While this summer has been a fantastic one for the national economy, finally re-injecting what it desperately needed after a lean 2020, we actually ended up with what we were declaratively shirking, Croatian mass tourism, which is far from sustainable.

Therefore, in 2022, but also every following year, Croatian tourism should build on everything that has been learned throughout the coronavirus pandemic, namely that customers are looking for quality and premium products and are ready to pay more for it, and that the main interest is sustainability. Enthusiasm for the growing numbers of the eVisitor system is dying, and Croatian mass tourism has done far more harm than good if one dares to peek outside the purse strings of the state budget.

More cooperation in the EU

In addition to the above, the tourism sector in this country needs to communicate more and define appropriate models to develop common strategies, and the European Union and its Member States must all work more together to maximize passenger mobility and strengthen people’s confidence in travel safety following this unprecedented public health crisis in which trust in airlines and travel agencies has been lost.

Part of this was highlighted by the participants in the year-round tourism conference “Tourism 365” held on Friday in Tuheljske toplice in mainland Croatia, with the participation of various ministers and state secretaries in charge. the tourism sector in four countries of the European Union. country, and Prime Ministers of Croatia and Slovenia Andrej Plenkovic and Janez Jansa.

“Our goal is not to just count tourists and arrivals and think about how to beat records. The goal is sustainable tourism, to have a number of tourists spread throughout the year. ‘year. Therefore, the Croatian Tourism Month project, which is ongoing, is also important for us,’ ‘said Croatian Tourism Minister Nikola Brnjac.

Slovenian Minister of Economy and Technological Development Zdravko Pocivalsek pointed out that even before the coronavirus crisis, Slovenia had started to develop its own model of sustainable tourism, and during the pandemic they invested more than one billion euros in aid to the tourism sector, including vouchers. for residents of Slovenia, which has boosted domestic tourism.

Fernando Valdes Verelst, Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism, underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation between EU countries in the future, in order to stabilize tourist flows.

“There was cooperation this year too, but it could have been stronger. We also need cooperation in terms of marketing, and stronger publicity of Europe as a destination to markets distant, whose opening is expected, “said Verelst. of the tourist season is part of the sustainable tourism policy, and in the pandemic Croatia has had a historic chance to develop a sustainable product, ”said Ivana Budin Arhanic of Valamar, adding that this year tourists have shown a great interest in the quality and premium of products.

Kristian Sustar of the Uniline agency warned that this year’s season should not be bragged too much, so that it does not become something of an example of good practice. “We had a fantastic result, but you have to see it for what it was, secondarily. In reality, we had three months of work and Croatian mass tourism, and that’s not what we say we want “, concluded Sustar.

To learn more about sustainable tourism, see our travel section.


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Space tourism is here: book a trip to the last frontier https://newtoncountymotourism.org/space-tourism-is-here-book-a-trip-to-the-last-frontier/ Wed, 01 Sep 2021 11:21:15 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/space-tourism-is-here-book-a-trip-to-the-last-frontier/ Last July we saw Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos take off in a giant leap for the space tourism industry, but their launches to the edge of space weren’t particularly well timed. Amid a global pandemic and climate emergency, two billionaires taking space walks might not have been a good fit, but don’t underestimate what […]]]>


Last July we saw Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos take off in a giant leap for the space tourism industry, but their launches to the edge of space weren’t particularly well timed. Amid a global pandemic and climate emergency, two billionaires taking space walks might not have been a good fit, but don’t underestimate what just happened – and to how important it could be for the future of humanity.

With the first crew launches of Virgin Galactic’s supersonic space plane and Blue Origin’s reusable rocket, a world of commercial space travel takes its first step. Both companies plan to start scheduled and scheduled trips for paid space tourists in the coming months, but their visions date back many years to the start of human spaceflight.

Bezos’ Blue Origin chose an auspicious day to send its first crew into space. July 20, 2021 was exactly 52 years after Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. But it wasn’t the only major anniversary of space travel celebrated this year.

April 12 marked the 60th anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human not only to reach space, but also to orbit the Earth. Meanwhile, May 5 saw the 60th anniversary of NASA’s Freedom 7 mission, which launched Alan Shepard on a suborbital flight that lasted 15 minutes. He reached an altitude of 101 miles to become the first American in space before his capsule parachuted into the ocean.

The name of Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch system is no accident. Its mission profile is almost identical to the 1961 US inaugural space flight, except for the comfy billionaire-quality seats and large windows. From the first launch site near Van Horn in the West Texas desert, this rocket fires a capsule containing up to six people (but no pilot) into space, which is then parachuted 15 minutes later. . Blue Origin plans to conduct two more crewed flights this year, with many more slated for 2022.

The Virgin Galactic experience is different. Its SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity supersonic rocket-powered space plane can accommodate six passengers and two highly skilled pilots. It takes off on a Spaceport America runway near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, while attached to a mothership. At 52,000 feet, it detaches and burns its rocket motor for one minute to reach speeds of Mach 3 and touch the edge of space. After a few minutes of weightlessness (and a chance for passengers to see the curvature of the Earth against the blackness of space), it slips to land on a runway. Virgin Galactic intends to complete more test flights in 2021 and, in 2022, start working on its roster of more than 650 registered and paid “future astronauts”.

These short trips are expected to cost between $ 250,000 and $ 500,000, but in January 2022, expect to see a truly out of the ordinary private trip to space at an even more astronomical price tag. It will come from the other billionaire, arguably much more important in the space tourism bubble: Elon Musk. Axiom Mission 1 will see his company, SpaceX, launch four private astronauts on behalf of Houston-based space tourism company Axiom Space. An American real estate investor, a Canadian investor, a former Israeli Air Force pilot and a former space shuttle pilot will embark on an incredible orbital mission in his Crew Dragon spacecraft.

At $ 55 million per ticket, this is top-notch, ultra-ambitious space tourism. “The experience is radically different as they will be launched on a SpaceX rocket and travel to the International Space Station (ISS) for 10 days,” says Christina Korp, co-founder of Space for a Better World. “They’ll do what real astronauts do, and I don’t think it’s an accident that Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin flew before Axiom’s mission.” Axiom Space intends to launch a private space station – the first “space hotel” – as early as 2024 to provide space tourists a place to visit.

Branson and Bezos may have had the limelight lately, but Musk is the billionaire to watch in space exploration. He talks about Martian colonies and humanity stretching out into the cosmos, but since 2012 SpaceX has made a lot of money from NASA contracts to launch supplies to the ISS. Last summer he also started transporting NASA astronauts there. SpaceX’s spacecraft – currently under test – will land two NASA astronauts, the first female and the next male, on the moon in 2024.

You see, space tourism is just an accessory to a bigger and more worthy goal of saving the planet. Next year, Blue Origin plans to test its reusable New Glenn rocket – named after John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth in 1962 – which will be able to send cargo and astronauts into orbit. Bezos said he believes we need to go to space to save Earth, especially protecting the planet from pollution by moving heavy industry to space. This can only happen when space travel is safe, scheduled, and affordable. Space tourism will help create a competitive space economy, just as mass tourism has reduced the cost of flights.

Likewise, Branson’s goal is to increase access to space. “We are at the forefront of a new space age … Our mission is to make space more accessible to all,” he said after his maiden flight. A microgravity experiment was aboard this first flight on July 11, with similar plans for all subsequent trips. Meanwhile, Virgin Orbit’s sister company LauncherOne sends small satellites and science payloads into orbit via a small rocket launch under the wing of a Boeing 747.

The scientific benefits for all of us on Earth are currently unknown, but the space community has an incredible track record when it comes to innovation. “Clean energy like solar energy comes from the space program,” Korp explains. “Solar panels were invented to power satellites and refined to power spacecraft.” GPS cue, weather forecast, telecommunications and even Internet access. There are also fleets of satellites, large and small, that observe the behavior and evolution of our planet. “It’s the space industry that monitors climate change, tracks hurricanes and learns how to survive in the extreme environment of space – including experiments to grow food with almost no water, for example,” says Korp. Every space mission, including suborbital and even weightless flights, has environmental experiences on board by default.

“It’s not about escaping from Earth,” Bezos said after the flight. “The point is, it is the only good planet in the solar system and we have to take care of it.” Bezos wants to expand into affordable space travel. This will allow for long-term business ventures that ultimately could help prevent further climate change, or at least help us cope with its consequences.

However, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX won’t be the only ways to reach space. Russian space agency Roscosmos is expected to take “citizen space explorers” to the ISS soon, but the most affordable way to get “dark sky time” could be with Space Perspective, which will launch a pressurized capsule powered by an high performance space balloon. .

The six-hour flight will cost around $ 125,000 per person and will launch from Space Coast Spaceport in Florida in 2024. “Unlike short-lived moments of adrenaline-fueled weightlessness, Space Perspective flights bring you spatial calm. “said Jane Poynter, Founder, Co-CEO and CXO of Space Perspective. Flights on the Neptune spacecraft involve a gentle climb of just 12 miles per hour for a six-hour tour of the Earth’s biosphere, culminating with a view of our beautiful planet from space.

Space tourism is finally here. Instagram better get ready for the “Earth Selfies”.

Editorial manager: Elizabeth Rhodes
Contributors: Jamie Carter and Stefanie Waldek
Visual editor: Mariah Tyler
Artistic Director: Jenna Brillhart
Designer: Sarah Maiden


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IRCTC: mass tourism take off, very good sign for the industry: Rajni Hasija, IRCTC https://newtoncountymotourism.org/irctc-mass-tourism-take-off-very-good-sign-for-the-industry-rajni-hasija-irctc/ Tue, 17 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/irctc-mass-tourism-take-off-very-good-sign-for-the-industry-rajni-hasija-irctc/ Rajni Hasija, CMD (LA), talks about business after the reopening. Edited excerpts from his interview with ET Now: ET Now: Your business posted strong profits compared to the loss in the same quarter last year. Could you share the highlights of the company’s performance? Rajni Hasija: The Covid has been really tough on the hospitality […]]]>


Rajni Hasija, CMD (LA), talks about business after the reopening. Edited excerpts from his interview with ET Now:


ET Now: Your business posted strong profits compared to the loss in the same quarter last year. Could you share the highlights of the company’s performance?

Rajni Hasija: The Covid has been really tough on the hospitality industry. We are as affected as the others. All of our segments have shown an impact, with the exception of Internet ticketing, where we are still doing very well.

If you compare this quarter with the quarter ended, then our results are not very fragile. But if you compare with the corresponding quarter of the previous year, then we did very well.

A few segments that posted losses in the first quarter of the previous year have now finished well. For example Rail Neer. Catering represented around 45% of our revenue before Covid; this time its contribution is around 23%. There we earned around Rs 56 crore. In Rail Neer we earned around Rs 29 crore.

Internet ticketing is the main source of income, contributing 61% of our income. Tourism also contributed a little despite the fact that April and May were very bad.

There is a lot of uncertainty about a third wave. What are the sales and margin prospects for the rest of the year?
With the increase in vaccinations, the IRCTC team is ready to face the situation. I am happy that things are improving on all fronts. Our revenues from all segments are now improving.

Rail Neer’s production has increased. Our production capacity is much more than it was during the Covid. Now we have almost reached about 45% of our production level. In tourism, our first Bharat Darshan train successfully completed its journey without any problems, which is a very good sign for the industry.

Mass tourism is taking off and our new tourism products like Char Dham express in the luxury segment are all sold out. The same goes for all our packages for Leh, Ladakh.

Any ideas on consumer behavior? What are the destinations where you see large ticket bookings after reopening?
During the second wave, only travel as needed occurred. Now there is a constant change because people have started to move again.

Sightseeing packages are selling well and a few hilly terrain packages have sold at full capacity. Kerala is not doing well, but Ladakh and Kashmir are taking off well. Globally, ticket reservations are accelerating.


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Q&A: COVID has cut mass tourism – and some cities want it to be https://newtoncountymotourism.org/qa-covid-has-cut-mass-tourism-and-some-cities-want-it-to-be/ Tue, 20 Jul 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/qa-covid-has-cut-mass-tourism-and-some-cities-want-it-to-be/ When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, cities that typically received thousands of tourists a day got a taste of life without mass tourism – and some of them don’t want all of those people coming back. A gradual post-pandemic reopening gives many popular destinations the opportunity to try new methods. Venice, long in the […]]]>


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, cities that typically received thousands of tourists a day got a taste of life without mass tourism – and some of them don’t want all of those people coming back.

A gradual post-pandemic reopening gives many popular destinations the opportunity to try new methods. Venice, long in the grip of overtourism, has banned large cruise ships to enter its waters. The people of Amsterdam feel like they are “have recovered their city”And the city council launched an online advertising campaign encouraging visitors to enjoy the city’s culture, but warning of“ nuisance tourists ”- especially the large bachelor parties that previously flocked to the neighborhood Amsterdam red. Maui lawmakers seek to impose a tourist tax, offering a 3% tax for visitors staying in hotels and short-term rentals, and the mayor of the island is advocate with airlines to schedule fewer flights.

Each idea aims, in one way or another, to balance the income that tourists so badly need with the damage that huge crowds can do to natural or historic places and to the needs of a city’s own inhabitants. We asked Jessica Sewell, associate professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, how cities can balance these needs in a post-pandemic reset.

Sewell’s research explores the links between culture and urban design. Among many projects, she works with AVU Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities on a digital Guide to the urban cultural landscapes of Suzhou, China, where she taught at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. The guide aims to provide cultural and historical context for those visiting Suzhou, a major tourist destination in China that is home to several UNESCO World Heritage gardens.

Here’s what she had to say on some of the issues surrounding post-pandemic tourism.

Q. As cities reopen to tourists, what questions could they ask themselves to promote responsible tourism? What does it look like?

A. One thing to think about is ways to promote tourism that keeps people in one place for a while. “Bucket list” tourism – zooming in to quickly reach a few popular sites and then back out again – does a lot of damage to a city like Venice or Florence. It doesn’t make as much money for the local economy as people may not stay put, or not stay long enough to eat many meals or buy many groceries.

My colleague in China, Christian Nolf, worked on the idea of ​​slow tourism. Suzhou is a huge tourist attraction, but people tend to frequent the same places, mainly classical gardens and historic Pingjiang Street. These places are absolutely crowded, but other parts of the city do not attract the same number of visitors and do not benefit economically. Cities should be thinking about how to get people to slow down and really experience a place – not just its popular hot spots, but other neighborhoods and smaller attractions. Often times the little things you find when walking around a city are even more memorable than the big, famous landmarks.

Q. How can cities balance preserving the places and cultures that make them distinctive with welcoming people to visit those places?

A. It is not easy to answer. This is a really difficult conundrum, made worse by the fact that many attractions have to use tourists’ money to pay for their own preservation. I think it’s important to try and expand tourism over a longer period of time, using things like timed tickets and reservations. Lots of places that hadn’t used timed tickets before using them during COVID for crowd control. I expect many will continue, as this helps alleviate the ill effects of large crowds. The simple act of distributing people, physically and in time, helps reduce wear and tear.

Q. What other ideas arose in your work in Suzhou?

A. China is in the process of shifting from mass tourism – usually involving large bus tours – to more individual and independent tourism. This shift is part of a larger cultural shift from a more collective mindset to a more individual mindset, influenced by the large number of middle and upper class Chinese who travel or study abroad. and see other ways of doing things. This provides opportunities for Chinese attractions to change their approach to tourism.

Some villages have started charging visitors entrance fees, which is an interesting method, although I’m not sure it’s ideal. This prevents these cities from depending on the sale of tourist products, such as souvenirs or tickets to particular sites. It also distributes the money around the city, rather than keeping the money tied to particular sites or attractions. This could help support local businesses and bring some benefits to residents.

Q. What role do short-term rental companies like Airbnb play in these debates?

A. Short-term rentals like Airbnb have many positive aspects. Sometimes it is the locals who own a home, and the rental income helps support them and the local economy. It also promotes a kind of slow tourism, making people stay longer and spend their money in neighborhoods. This can be problematic, of course, if it is particularly disrupting a neighborhood or adding stress to the local housing market. I think that might say more about the evils of the housing market, however, than it does about Airbnb.

I think a bigger problem for many big cities is when very wealthy people buy apartments in multiple places and don’t spend a lot of time there. In some big cities, like New York or Paris, you can find neighborhoods that look like they are inhabited, but can no longer support a local grocery store or business because so many people who own a property there are not there. do not live. It can really empty a city.

Q. If you were to advise cities concerned about the impact of returning tourism after the pandemic, what questions would you raise?

A. First of all, I would ask, “What is your ideal? »You don’t want tourists? Do you want only a small number or a certain number of tourists? Where do you want these people to be? How can you make it a better place for them to stay longer, rather than zooming in and out? How can you change the way people relate to your city?

Amsterdam is a good example. They said they didn’t want as much singles tourism. How to change the environment to discourage this type of tourism while welcoming other tourists? What kind of tourists do you really want?

It is also important to consider transportation. How many buses do you really want to let in? Do you really want to have these big cruise ships? Idling buses or large ships in a port can actually be much more destructive to a place than the people in it. So I would advise cities to think about how they transport people through spaces. Can they park buses and cars elsewhere and take tourists on a tram line? Can they create spaces where people walk and move slowly through the streets, building a different relationship with a place than they would in a bus or a car?

Finally, you need to think about what else is affecting your residents. How can you ensure that affordable housing options remain available? Do you have enough places for people to shop and get what they need to live in your city? How to make your city a pleasant place to live and visit? Often planning policies that have nothing to do with tourism, such as housing policies, can make a huge difference.


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Venice divided on the return of mass tourism https://newtoncountymotourism.org/venice-divided-on-the-return-of-mass-tourism/ Fri, 25 Jun 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://newtoncountymotourism.org/venice-divided-on-the-return-of-mass-tourism/ Piero Dri depends on the millions of tourists who come to his hometown of Venice every year. However, he admits to feeling already “suffocated” by foreign visitors who return gradually after a forced absence. “Over the past year, Venice has become habitable again,” he said from his workshop near the Grand Canal, where he handcrafted […]]]>


Piero Dri depends on the millions of tourists who come to his hometown of Venice every year. However, he admits to feeling already “suffocated” by foreign visitors who return gradually after a forced absence.

“Over the past year, Venice has become habitable again,” he said from his workshop near the Grand Canal, where he handcrafted wooden forcolas – oar ladies for the gondolas that carry the boats. tourists on the city’s waterways.

“With the streets empty due to the pandemic, we realized that we didn’t have to fight tooth and nail every day to get around, and that we could live our lives loving this place. “

As cities emerge from pandemic closures, attracting foreign visitors with deep pockets will be key to restarting their economies. Venice is no different: it depends almost entirely on the roughly 30 million tourists who came each year before the pandemic.

However, the return of mass tourism to a city loved by couples and famous for its canals and carnival has not been universally hailed by its 50,000 year-round residents.

There was anger this month when a cruise liner sailed into the Venice Lagoon for the first time since the pandemic despite a pledge from the Italian government that giant tourist ships would be banned from the historic center.

The return of the liners, pending the construction of a new terminal further from the city center, rekindled historic divisions in Venice, as posters proclaiming “No Grandi Navi” – No Big Ships – were stuck on stores and restaurants that have been barricaded due to a lack of customers.

Huge tension

Tommaso Cacciari, leader of the protest group, said: “Big ships are the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger problem.

He said overtourism was evicting long-term residents, destroying jobs unrelated to the holiday industry and putting enormous pressure on housing.

“The tragedy of Venice – of which the large ships are only a part – is the fact that the mono-economy of tourism has wiped out the socio-economic diversity of the city,” he said, adding that people treated her city like her. was “the largest amusement park in the world”.

Yet for many Venetians, the return of tourists is a cause for celebration. Deborah Rosetto, who sells glassware on the pretty Murano archipelago, said she couldn’t be happier to find her customers.

“We haven’t received any money for almost two years. We spent all our savings on paying the rent and buying food. If mass tourism is our only way to make ends meet, then start it. Of course, it needs to be better organized. But if London, Paris and Barcelona have mass tourism, why not us?

Even before the pandemic hit, Venice faced an existential threat from rising sea levels, which caused severe flooding in 2019.

Cruise ships, in addition to transporting thousands of visitors every day to St. Mark’s Square, are accused of polluting and damaging the lagoon and its delicate marine ecosystem.

The government of Rome has presented a plan to temporarily divert ships to the nearby port of Marghera, while plans are made to build the terminal outside the lagoon.

Yet progress has been slow. Unesco, the United Nations agency, said this week it would consider putting Venice on its endangered species list if a permanent ban on large cruise ships docking in the city center is not addressed.

Rialto Bridge

Vanda Lumine (76), who sells traditional shoes on the famous Rialto Bridge, said the town needs tourists, while noting that the street in front of her store is sometimes so busy that customers who stop for looking out the window were swept along by the tide of people.

“Mass tourism is a sore spot, but without it even plumbers, electricians, hairdressers and laundries would not work,” said the 76-year-old. “Everything is linked, even though here the situation has gotten out of hand. “

Simone Venturini, the head of tourism, defended the approach to the city, and said there was a realization that it was “time to focus more on quality tourism”.

“Everyone feels the need to get back to normal but it is our responsibility to do so with respect for our city,” he said, adding that he was working to “promote international events and exhibitions and to attract visitors who wish to stay more than a quick visit ”.

Nicola Ussardi made a living selling souvenirs to tourists in St Mark’s Square before losing her job when the pandemic hit.

He thinks Venice is at a crossroads and must decide whether to run after profit and risk killing the city, or choose another path. “Covid has accelerated a process that started a long time ago. It is clear that the current system is gradually destroying the city and brings nothing.

For him, Venice was a “museum made of real life and real people”, which is why “it is our duty to protect it with all our might”.

Dri, one of the few remaining forcola makers, knows that Venice needs its foreign visitors, but hopes that a new path can be found that promotes “genuine tourism … that appreciates the traditions and heritage of the region. city ​​”.

“We have been shaken by the pandemic, but we must take advantage of it to create a different future for this city,” he said. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021


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