August 30, 2019

"Across the globe, travel providers and government agencies are responding to overtourism with suggestions for less-crowded places and quieter seasons in hopes of producing a broader but lighter footprint."

"In Colorado’s case, the tourism office’s online Colorado Field Guide outlines 150 multiday itineraries with the goal of dispersing its 82 million travelers across the seasons and across the state.... Expanding when and where to go mirrors the rise of tourism, linked to the growth of the middle class in emerging markets. From 25 million travelers in the 1950s, tourist arrivals around the world grew to 1.4 billion in 2018, and the World Tourism Organization forecasts that number to rise to 1.8 billion by 2030.... A wave of travel companies — new and established — are lining up to help them make that choice in the interest of destination sustainability as well as peace of mind.... Pioneering new trips to obscure destinations has long been the virtual arms race of the travel industry waged by adventure and luxury travel companies...."

From "Cooler, Farther and Less Crowded: The Rise of ‘Undertourism’/Across the globe, travel providers and government agencies are responding to ‘overtourism’ with suggestions for less-crowded places and quieter seasons" (NYT).

"Undertourism" indeed! It's more and more tourism, dispersed to more and more places.

I'm interested in this idea that going to more "obscure destinations" was the strategy of "luxury" travel countries, and now the lower tiers of travelers are getting dispersed to these less great but less traveled-to places.

And is this "broader but lighter footprint" a serious confrontation with environmental impact? Do I need to give this article my "eco-shame-contortion genre" tag? I'm only giving it because I'm talking about it. The article isn't shame-focused enough. It's pretty shameless and bent on pushing travel travel travel for the readers who think of themselves as affluent and therefore in need of quality travel experiences.

80 comments:

Seeing Red said...

What a celebration for mankind.

Thanks to capitalism, we have the least amount of humans ever worldwide in deep poverty and extreme hunger. I think it’s Under 1 billion.

America is so rich that EBT cards in some states were banned from being used on cruises and in casinos.



David Begley said...

I urge people - except Althouse blog readers - to stay out of Nebraska. It’s not for everyone.

tim maguire said...

I disagree that these places are less great. They're just less famous.

Peter said...

What amazes me is that actual travel (as opposed to plunking oneself down on a beach for a week) to so many wonderful places has become objectively horrible and still people flock to them and tell themselves it's all been great. Stressful uncomfortable flights, ridiculous crowds and line-ups, packed cruise ships, traffic gridlock, resentful locals, overpriced "tourist" food, etc, etc. Just type the city and "crowds" on Google Images and you will wonder how anyone other than young people looking for another excuse to drink bears it. Yet still they come in droves and tell themselves and everybody else what an enriching experience it was. Perhaps for the modern traveler the test for that is the number of cool selfies they manage to take. The wealth that makes it all happen is to be celebrated, perhaps, but is it not also bringing collective madness in its wake?

joshbraid said...

On a trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons, we quickly did move to the less famous resort. Why? To avoid the hordes (yes, bus after bus after bus) of Asian tourists with their selfie sticks. Kind of the old Ugly American thing, just Oriental. Grand Teton National park is much less accessible by bus than Yellowstone, which keeps the crowds down. It is true, still, that even in Yellowstone one can avoid the crowds (for the most part) by walking more than a half mile away from one's car.

Michael K said...

Thanks to capitalism, we have the least amount of humans ever worldwide in deep poverty and extreme hunger. I think it’s Under 1 billion.

Yes and the Democrats are determined to reverse that situation as soon as they get power.

Amexpat said...

Great places are no longer great when too many people go there.

Off the beaten track travel can be great. But if something is being promoted as off the beaten track, it no longer is off the beaten track.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

From the old line that travel broadens the mind, boomers arrived at the idea that anyone who travels a lot is wise, enlightened, or deep. The contradiction about "respecting heritage sites," "respecting the environment," and so on, probably reveals that quite a few of these people are just shallow assholes. I think there is a genuine boomer view that there is no sacred site that can't be trampled on, no cursed ground to be respected, and so on.

MadisonMan said...

The increase in tourism numbers is very well correlated with the increase in CO2 concentrations. The path forward for any government entity concerned about Global Warming is clear.

Temujin said...

I am so confused this week. First we're overrunning Prague with noisy, brutish pub crawlers. Then we're not using enough of our vacation time and many not using them at all. Now we're focusing on sneaking into places with fewer crowds (so that no one will notice we're there?).

Much of the world has gone to these 'unknown' places since, well...forever. At long last, the NYT thinks it would be swell if we all didn't show up on Martha's Vineyard to gawk at the new Obamansion. Or to Napa to sip wine with Silicon Valley VC's. Or even to Manhattan to remind them all just how amazing it all is. (they need to hear this regularly).

All the while, on the Island of Mallorca, Elvis is laughing.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

So the less crowded places are over-crowded too. Good thinking.

Paco Wové said...

Coincidentally, doing something like this very soon, involving light backpacking, staying in farmhouses and guesthouses, visiting small towns almost exclusively, etc. I'm not sure how the residents of those areas would feel were we to be overcome by shame and thus keep our sweet sweet tourist money out of their pockets.

Paco Wové said...

"I am so confused this week"

Everything you do is bad, and you must be cowed/hectored/shamed into submission. Keeping you off-balance isn't by accident.

Seeing Red said...

Let’s talk about “quality” for a minute.

Whose definition of “quality?”

Perhaps some of those people are first-time travelers. They’re going to be excited, not cynical. So their definition of a “quality” trip is different from the world-weary.

tim maguire said...

joshbraid said...even in Yellowstone one can avoid the crowds (for the most part) by walking more than a half mile away from one's car.

As with nearly everything in life, it takes surprisingly little effort to separate yourself from the crowd.

Caligula said...

Well, I vote for replicas.

Why go see the Parthenon, considering all the bad things that have happened to it over the years? Why not, instead, go see a reconstruction of what it looked like in the age of Pericles?

Or the Mona Lisa. It's been seriously degraded over the years by attempts to save it, as these have significantly darkened the image. And then there's the crazing. Yet it's entirely possible to reconstruct something that looks far more as the original did when it was created, by using software to un-darken and un-craze it.

And so it goes. Truly, authenticity is over-rated and "ersatz" is a libel. Reconstructions can often be closer to what was created than the ruins of what's left of the original.

Seeing Red said...

Bears, however....

Seeing Red said...

The Mona Lisa is overrated.

Lucid-Ideas said...

One of the things that I think people aren't considering is how much travelling to 'see something' for the sake of seeing it is changing. There are entire youtube channels that are now dedicated to walking through museums, in depth analysis of the thing you'd be travelling to see, etc.

The point is travelling to see something is a genuine waste of your time and money at this point, and I say this as someone who has travelled to and seen a lot of 'stuff'.

You'll find that if you're going somewhere for an experience, it often ends up that the places you'll go don't have anything to really 'see' at all. Those places are also usually less crowded because they involve doing, not seeing.

Even places with a lot of 'doing' outdoor style activities still has places like Steamboat or Pimo Mines that don't get a lot of traffic because they're hard to get to.

Btw, the two best experiences travelling I ever had was touring the Viet Minh underground tunnel system in S. Vietnam and taking the helicopter tour of Pablo Escobar's various estates in Columbia. If you're ever looking for a thoroughly interesting experience, I highly recommend...and not crowded.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I oppose shaming tourists no matter what their mythical carbon footprint is. The country is full of people who want to publicly shame others now. Not for any good reason, just ridicule for the sake virtue signaling, which to normal people looks and feels a lot like old fashioned bullying. You’re not better than me because you DO or DON’T travel. Im tired of all the public bullies who take their pet idiopathies and use media social- or news to cudgel their fellow citizens.

Live and let live you bunch of fascists.

Phil 314 said...

This is a great time of year for an uncrowned hike in the deserts of Arizona.

Make sure you have plenty of water, wear sunscreen and definitely bring ID so the authorities can identify the body.

Seeing Red said...

“Across the globe”

I don’t think so.

Across certain parts of the globe because they’re safer.

I don’t think people are visiting Hong Kong, Venezuela and parts of surrounding countries, even Mexico is becoming more unsafe.

I’d love to go to Carnival, but no way.

I’d love to go to Egypt and Israel, but no way.

In Papau New Guinea, you can be shot getting out of the airport.

Seeing Red said...

Karachi is full of flies.

stevew said...

You can see and visit many of the famous places during a trip to Vegas. They still like crowds too.

Unknown said...

I've rarely done the tourist thing, usually means I was pressed for time. Once on a cruise (wife won it in a work-place lottery) traipsing on the back streets of Grand Banks we were asked (several times) if we were lost. Some of the neighborhood was maybe a little sketchy, but we saw life outside the frame. It was really interesting. Gave us an appreciation for home.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

LOL Phil.

Just drove near Death Valley. Also not crowded this time of year. Vegas was mobbed.

Tina Trent said...

Althouse's philosophical aversion to travel is interesting. Many utopian colonists seeking "perfectionism" of one sort or another in the 19th Century had strong feelings against both travel and reproduction, the latter often not arising from religious objections but from the example of other utopian experiments that failed because lots of poor people with children arrived and threatened the local conditions needed to maintain food production and the luxury of self-improvement.

Many of them were very interested in time-travel, though. Maybe time-travel is the ultimate way of staying home.

Ice Nine said...

>>"travelers are getting dispersed to these less great but less traveled-to places."<<

Having been to lots of them (I've always sought them out, or simply happened upon them) I must say that the less-traveled places are generally *more* great - in a way that those seeking the "great" places to check off would never understand. Their loss...

JML said...

We are going to Italy in Oct. Four days in Rome then off to Naples to stay with a friend. From there, we will go wherever. He has been there three years, so we hope to balance out the touristy places with some of the gems he has found. In 2015, we took a VBT (Vacation Bike Tour) of the Julian Alps at the Slovenia, Italy and Austrian region. It was mostly back roads and trails and we stayed in local hotel,s with the exception of three days in Salzburg. It was a good trip - not a lot of tourists, and the tourist that were there were mainly local, so not overrun by hoards.

We just found out Sting is performing at a city park in Taos, NM this weekend. When I saw that, I said to my wife, I'd hate to go - what a nightmare the crowds will be.

Michael K said...

In Papau New Guinea, you can be shot getting out of the airport.

About 15 years ago, I was signed up for a tour of Guadalcanal. Mitchell Paige was to be one of the guides. Then the Solomon Islands had some sort of revolution and the tour was cancelled. I was even prepared for the chloroquin resistant malaria but it was not to be.

That is off the beaten track.

Ralph L said...

Since we can't eliminate "must-see" locations, we need to multiply them and also differentiate them by cultures, so the locals have to deal with only a few foreign languages.

Get the rich ChiComms to harvest their own rhino horns, as the Yellowstone tourists do with bison.

CJinPA said...

It's pretty shameless and bent on pushing travel travel travel for the readers who think of themselves as affluent and therefore in need of quality travel experiences.

This right here. It's a 'First World of the First World' problem. If a middle class family doesn't get to travel much and they want to see the damn Grand Canyon, let them see it in peace.

Not that it's not a useful idea for provide options for spreading out travel across places and seasons as Colorado is trying. Providing that option won't preclude people from seeing famous vast chasms.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Wife and I went to a "cooler, farther and less crowded" place a year ago.

It was packed---with Indians, Chinese, Koreans, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Japanese...

Iceland.

jaydub said...

In 2000, Chinese tourists made 10.5 million trips outside China, in 2018, Chinese tourists made 150 million trips outside China.

In 2000, there were and estimated 6 million cruise passengers; in 2019 there will be an estimated 30 million cruise passengers.

All of these Chinese and cruise ship passengers go to the same cities and the same attractions, and both groups arrive by bus so that dozens of groups of 50 are deposited in the same locations each morning, all trying to get into the same museums or whatever and all crowded around a tour guide so as to block traffic. This is the primary reason tourist meccas are so over crowded now as compared to before. This is also why my wife and I do not take tours, do not go to the most "popular" sights, and look for the less traveled byways where the real people live. For example, next spring we are going to attempt to hike the St James way from Saint-Jean-Pied-a-Port to Santiago de Compostela, or at to least the last couple of hundred miles of it because at 75 I'm not sure I should be tackling the Pyrenees portion. I will guarantee we will see neither Chinese or cruisers along the way.

tcrosse said...

The Travel section of the Telegraph makes a specialty of listing alternatives to over-crowded venues. There's almost always an article of the Go-Here-Not-There variety.

Seeing Red said...

If you want to even out vacation, the US needs to go to year-round schooling from primary thru college.

Seeing Red said...

Make it 3 weeks off each quarter instead of blitzing the summer.

Seeing Red said...

I alwaYs thought the height of decadence for this middle class kid was what did you do on summer vacation?

I went skiing in New Zealand.

rhhardin said...

Florida is good. Track the cable news stations, which are at category 2 coverage levels now. Monster storm. Who would want to pass that up.

Danno said...

I ascribe to the following motto-

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." - Yogi Berra

mesquito said...

My vacations usually involve my Jeep and 2 million acres courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management.

rhhardin said...

Hurricane coverage is up to cat 4 prediction level. Make your reservations now.

n.n said...

Seasonal immigration reform. They want to have their revenue (e.g. taxes) and green lawns, too.

Thanks to capitalism, we have the least amount of humans ever worldwide in deep poverty and extreme hunger.

Free market economy (sometimes mistaken for barter economy) and retained earnings that engender wholly organic, adaptive development, which mitigates catastrophic progress (e.g. inflation, recession, depression), and optimizes utility of human capital, assessment of fair prices, and moderation of resource consumption and distribution.

rhhardin said...

Cat 5 might not be out of the range of hopes and prayers. The answer to news dearth.

Birkel said...

The list of things that one group wants to control about another group is endless.

Anonymous said...

Amexpat: Great places are no longer great when too many people go there.

What's funny is that the sanctimonious anti-travel preachers don't seem to notice that the "you're ruining these great places by visiting them" logic applies to immigration, too.

rhhardin said...

Speaking of free market, it's time for price gouging laws to kick in and stop recovery early. This Mike Munger podcast interview is fun and will prepare you to enjoy the news coverage.

https://www.econtalk.org/munger-on-price-gouging/

GRW3 said...

I like to go places that involve my personal interests. I've enjoyed those activities more than the more standard tourist items. I've been to London a lot and I've seen most of the major London tourist sites. None of them, however, were as memorable as my trips to Old Warden Aerodrome, home of the Shuttleworth Collection of vintage airplanes (dating from 1909 to the mid '40s).

n.n said...

Thanks to capitalism, we have the least amount of humans ever worldwide in deep poverty and extreme hunger.

Capitalism coupled with public (e.g. welfare) and private (e.g. charity) smoothing functions, and public (e.g. Medicare, Social Security) and private savings accounts. Now if we can discern progressive costs and prices (e.g. medical care), optimize the former, and mitigate the latter, rather than share or pass the buck, then we can avoid great leaps or extreme misalignment.

Sydney said...

I took a vacation this year for the first time in 11 years. (Kids finally out of college.) Went to LA then Seattle. It was enjoyable, but we didn't really do touristy things. Visited family mostly, walked around the two cities, hike Mount Ranier. The only not so great experience was the Griffith Observatory because of crowds, but even that wasn't all bad. Got to see their big telescope and look through it. In general, I agree with doing things off the beaten track, but I wouldn't chose the off track on the advice on anything published someplace.

Unknown said...

Took vacation to Florida panhandle last time they had a big hurricane. Traffic was terrible.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If you want to avoid crowds, I suggest rural Iowa. The Kingdom in Northwest Missouri is also a good road trip. It’s 1700 miles from Omaha, Nebraska to Portland, Oregon, with only 3 or 4 crowded places to avoid in between.

Yancey Ward said...

I suppose there is a guide to the Denver landfill and water treatment centers.

Yancey Ward said...

In any case, won't the Green New Deal solve this problem?

Tina Trent said...

I once took a trip based on finding museums with toasters owned by famous people. The best was Warm Springs, Georgia, where Roosevelt died. Amazing to think he conducted much of WWII from such a tiny house. The British ambassador had to stay in a ten by ten room in a two room servant cabin. There's a collection of canes people all over America made and sent to Roosevelt. Amazing stuff. Down the road, the polio museum with iron lungs and the mineral pools Roosevelt shared with other polio sufferers.

Best historic site ever for seeing how people lived not so long ago. That, the eerie Andersonville Civil War prison memorial, the Buford Pusser Museum, and the Gibtown Showman's Club where the carnies still winter and do an old time carnival once a year, and I'm set for cultural enrichment through travel. There's amateur professional wrestling nearby. It is a thing to see.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I live in Hawaii.
God help this island state if the US and other governments succeed in convincing people to vacation closer to home.

Michael said...

Generally speaking , any crowded trail thins out after a mile. Less if it is uphill. I once encountered a Chinese couple and their child a third of the way to Cathedral Lake near Aspen. Around 2 pm, coming down time. They were headed up, hm in street shoes and the mother and child in sandals. They had a paper bag of food. Crazy.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island gets about 5,000 visitors each day. Most just go to the visitor center building and drive around a bit. The trails are never crowded.

Yancey Ward said...

Lewis,

Yeah, I noticed that when I was there in 2007- probably the least crowded trails in a major national park I have ever been on. It was just me and my sister most of the two days. I am guessing most people go to the islands just to relax at the beach or at a resort.

daskol said...

Thinly veiled anti-Chinese sentiments: the crowds, the hordes are from China, and if you listen to what this class of NYT reader says about travel in Europe and elsewhere, that’s what’s ruining the vibe for them.

Tomcc said...

Lewis Wetzel: Is Molokai getting any tourists?
About 25 years ago I spent a week in Kauai and hiked the Waimei Canyon. I don't think I ran into any else that day.

Michael K said...

Blogger Lewis Wetzel said...
I live in Hawaii.
God help this island state if the US and other governments succeed in convincing people to vacation closer to home.


Once AOC shuts down the ships and airplanes, we sailors can have it back.

Tank said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island gets about 5,000 visitors each day. Most just go to the visitor center building and drive around a bit. The trails are never crowded.

8/30/19, 1:36 PM
Yancey Ward said...
Lewis,

Yeah, I noticed that when I was there in 2007- probably the least crowded trails in a major national park I have ever been on. It was just me and my sister most of the two days. I am guessing most people go to the islands just to relax at the beach or at a resort


The two people you guys met on the trail were Mrs. Tank and me.

rehajm said...

It is true, still, that even in Yellowstone one can avoid the crowds (for the most part) by walking more than a half mile away from one's car.

Time of day, too. Remarkable how lovely it is in August for the early/late bird.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
todd galle said...

Tina,
Yes, some of the President's houses are very interesting. I was a NPS Ranger in the late 80s at Ike's farm outside of Gettysburg. It went to the NPS after Mamie died, intact. It still had her unfiltered cigarettes in a decorative box by her bedside, toilet paper in the bathrooms, broken clay pigeons at the trap field. Frozen in time. Older staff told me they found heaps of empty booze bottles in the basement, but I never saw any.

rehajm said...

The great thing about flight shaming is the eco loser aren't on the flight. We can all enjoy a little peace and quiet...haha who am I kidding? I fully expect eventually some eco loser will sit in the seat next to me to berate me for flying, while offering their own justification for their own carbon crapfest.

readering said...

Seems like selfies are changing tourism. I had never heard of the quokka, but now I gather tourists are flocking to Western Australia to have their selfie taken with these cute critters.

caplight45 said...

I am blessed to have access to a cabin in the Rockies on thirty acres between 9500 and 10,000 feet altitude that looks out over ten peaks that are 11,000 plus. Nicely remote. Forty-five minutes from a town. Twenty years ago had to haul in my own water but it’s plumbed now. When I travel internationally it’s to do God's work usually in small towns and villages. That works for me.
Once again something becomes a deal because it’s in the NYT. Or the New Yorker. Or . . .
I think the Professor might think about the benefit of not reading any NewYork based media for a month. No, make it two. AA tries to get you to go to 90 meetings in 90 days so make it three months.

Fernandinande said...

Thanks to capitalism, ... we can afford socialist vacations, i.e. the Hanging Lake in the article, which is in White River National Forest, "which hosts more visitors each year than Grand Canyon and Yellowstone national parks combined — but without the big parking lots, visitor centers and large viewing platforms to support crowds around major attractions." Most of the Colorado Field Guide's 150 multiday itineraries involve a socialist destination (check 'em!).

Haning Lake/White River NF are along I-70, hence the traffic, and it's the same general area that where people bothered the elk, and the elk left, @AA.blog post a few days ago.

Fen said...

Great places are no longer great when too many people go there.

Off the beaten track travel can be great. But if something is being promoted as off the beaten track, it no longer is off the beaten track.


Yup. When I was a kid we would go to Hawaii and Bermuda every summer. At the time, everyone was basking on the island of Hawaii and Maui was off the beaten track. When the mobs "discovered" Maui, we fled to the new getaway, Kauai. I'm sure that's all shifted again several times since we were there.

Bermuda was the same. Gorgeous place to visit until everyone found out about it.

Kelly said...

We re going to Amsterdam in September and I have my tickets for the Anne Frank House. As a young girl reading her diary I never dreamed I could go see the secret Annex and now I’m suppose to feel guilty about it? I don’t think so. They hate that the riffraff can go do things, that in the past, only the well off could do. I plan on doing lots of touristy things (Canal rides, cheese tasting, windmill gazing) and going to some of the American military cemeteries in Luxembourg and Belgium. They can suck it.

Jamie said...

Beauty and interest in places, as in people, is not evenly distributed.

ceowens said...

Any suggestions for off the beaten path in Ireland?

spatena said...

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stlcdr said...

Can we put this piece next to the ‘Americans don’t take vacations’ piece?

Tina Trent said...

Todd Galle: I hate that such detritus of daily living is disappearing from so-called interpretative historical sites. Replaced with video screens delivering pap. A box of violet-scented handkerchiefs says more about a person than all the videos in the world.

Andersonville is truly the most haunted place I've ever seen. Got there on a weekday after my husband had a court appearance in Columbus, Georgia. A grim barracks across the river from Phenix City, Alabama, also with a Buford Pusser connection.

Driving back to Atlanta, we stopped in Andersonville and had the entire place to ourselves -- empty fields where 30,000 men were left starving on 20 acres and more than 10,000 died in captivity. Just fog and memorials and rolling fields.

People were terrified about not just war but getting the next crops in or starving. We need to remember these things.

todd galle said...

Tina: As a museum professional I could not agree more. These new touch screen video exhibit stuff is a positive menace. I've got such things in my Visitor Center exhibit (done before my arrival I may assure you) that are running on Windows XP. Half my A/V stack is dead, and just zombie runs as I can't access any function controls.
Most haunted places, if you mean 'spooks' or 'ghosts' for me: Valley Forge National Park's Huntingdon's Quarters and the back stairs of Ike's Farm. I know a lot of folks think I'm nuts, but I know what I saw and heard. My present historic site is apparently spook free, or at least they aren't interested in me.

Skookum John said...

White River National Forest, "which hosts more visitors each year than Grand Canyon and Yellowstone national parks combined — but without the big parking lots, visitor centers and large viewing platforms to support crowds around major attractions."

Apples and oranges. WRNF has a dozen of the most popular ski areas in the country, which host hundreds of thousands of skiers every day of the winter.

Skookum John said...

@jaydub: For example, next spring we are going to attempt to hike the St James way from Saint-Jean-Pied-a-Port to Santiago de Compostela, or at to least the last couple of hundred miles of it because at 75 I'm not sure I should be tackling the Pyrenees portion. I will guarantee we will see neither Chinese or cruisers along the way.

Oh dear. I'm afraid I have bad news for you.

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/ten-reasons-to-stay-away-from-the-camino-de-santiago/

Consider the Camino Portugues or the Camino Ingles instead of the Camino Frances.