Thursday, May 31, 2018


This article was in a newsletter I get from Escapes Unlimited, a small travel agency in Orange County I've used a couple of times. 

And they don't even mention the horrible onslaught of massive cruise ships everywhere. And they don't mention how the lovely Balinese town, Ubud, has been turned into a zoo since "Eat, Pray, Love." Tour buses bear down on the place every day to the point where there is gridlock much of the time. The way of life has radically changed and the culture. I doubt I'll ever venture back into the town. Fortunately, there are still places on the island you can escape the crowds but for how long? 

I think of how our town would be if overrun with tourists —like it is for the Avocado Festival—every day. The last time I was in Laguna Beach will likely be the last time. No parking, crowds everywhere. Tourist buses. And not even during the Art Festival when you might expect the mobs. 


The Wall Street Journal recently had a story about the increased number of tourists that target the top vacation destinations worldwide. (May 22 by Rachel Pannett). Tourism is a mega-industry that has grown significantly due to the rise of budget airfares, more social media awareness that make distant places easier to navigate and an emerging Chinese middle class that now travels extensively. In Venice, Mallorca, San Sebastian and Barcelona there were anti-tourist demonstrations last summer. Tour groups had to be banned from parts of those cities.

It’s a difficult situation, especially for Third World countries that need the money that tourism brings but don’t want their special places over-run or destroyed. Cambodia and parts of Africa fall into that category. Thailand is talking about closing Koh Phi Phi island for part of the year. New Zealand has started a dialogue about restricting tourists by limiting Airbnb’s and Wifi. They attribute the increase in tourism to the “Lord of the Rings” series. Ten years ago New Zealand worked hard to get more tourists before the movies came out. Now it’s hard to find hotel space.

Chinese tourists numbered 20 million a decade ago. Now there are 60 million traveling to the world’s most desirable destinations which include many European cities, and parts of Southeast Asia.

Locals want tourists to be more sensitive to their culture and environment, be more aware of what behavior is appropriate. For example, in Bali, people never raise their voices, yet I’ve heard tourists from various countries scream across a hotel lobby for their spouse or fellow traveler. The Balinese just freeze in place when that happens. It’s so contrary to their way of life.

Roe & Daniella
Escapes Unlimited
2012 Lerner Lane 
Santa Ana, CA 92705 
800 243 7227

No comments:

Post a Comment