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Photo of Alan Glen, SPAA PresidentPresident's Column

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
 
Of late, I have been reading a wee bit about mass tourism and how it is affecting the locals in the countries/cities/villages in question.  It seems that everywhere from the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice to the Fairy Pools in Skye, are being overrun by the masses (otherwise known by it's Latin name 'peskious tourista'). 

I joke of course, but to some it is no laughing matter. Protesters have even invaded the beach in Barcelona, seemingly in a bid to 'reclaim' it from the tourists,  with banners staked in the sand stating: "We don't want tourists in our buildings! This is not a beach resort". 

Let's face it, the tourism model is changing - new internet mediums like Airbnb have suddenly turned previously residential areas in cities into tourist areas. If you live in a city centre block of flats, the last thing you want is to be next door to a bunch of people that change every weekend and who party until 3:00am every night because they are on holiday. 

It's also pushing up property prices in these areas because investors are now looking at potential holiday rental incomes. So on a social or personal level, I can see how that could become a complete nightmare for a city dweller in a tourist area!

Nearer to home, the Isle of Skye's Fairy Pools is apparently overrun with over three hundred people per day trying to access the attraction via a single track road with little or no car parking facilities. The locals can't go about their business because of the chronic congestion.

The local authorities are trying to raise £500k to build sufficient car parking facilities to cope with the tourist traffic. It's a different set of problems to those faced in the cities, but very challenging nonetheless.

Ultimately, we are all in the 'tourist business' so it is important that we find solutions to these problems - who wants to send someone on holiday if they end up being faced with protesters on the beach; people telling them to go home; or not enjoying the sightseeing experience because of the sheer number of people trying to view the same thing?

The problem is that the world population is increasing dramatically and the middle classes in emerging nations are now becoming wealthy enough to travel the globe. Resources are finite and as a developed nation, we have had it good for a long time. Suddenly, we are now going to have to compete with the rest of the world for those same life experiences.
 
Hopefully, we will find those solutions - it's in everybody's interests.....

Stop Press Tourism and our way of life seem to be constantly under threat nowadays, and Barcelona and Cabrils are the latest destinations to be brutally attacked. Travel promotes understanding. Our thoughts are with all those affected - as is our determination to keep travelling and making travel possible for everyone.
 
Alan Glen SPAA President
18 August 2017
 
 
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