20 years ago, you might have had 3-4 people on a given weekday sunset visiting to see the view. Now, that number is probably approaching 100. On weekends it's a throng of people, almost like standing room only.
It's a beautiful place, and it's inarguable that anyone should be able to see and enjoy it. But really, are most of those people there to see the beauty of the place? Would they be there if not for the opportunity to post it on social media? It's not like this is a hidden spot whose location was revealed by social media. It's a well known natural area. It just didn't get this crowded until it became hip to take photos of yourself in some beautiful place.
And then I realize, this is what people who live in areas with real tourism must feel like, except magnified to nightmarish proportions. Travel contributes greatly to carbon emissions, destroys environments, puts stress on local wildlife and people... just so that someone can have an ~experience~ for themselves.
The thing is, I think most people have a great deal of "interesting-ness" right near home. They just compete globally on Instagram, which requires a plane ride.
I don't hold this opinion, I'm just trying it on for size -- I've traveled to a lot of very beautiful places and had cool experiences, so it'd be hugely hypocritical. But yes, I really dislike the Instagram effect.
But why is you visiting it okay, but others not? It's like being stuck in traffic and hating on other drivers. In the article's case, it's their homes, so I can see it being annoying. But for landmarks that get popular, I don't see how one is justified in hating on other people going there. It's just a tragedy of the commons.
I also dislike how Barcelona and others are handling the problem. Taking tourists' money and harassing them.
I say this as someone who grew up in a mountain resort. Yes, it is annoying during winter when people flood to "my nature" and "my ski spots". But if it weren't for those people, my family or no one else would live there as there wouldn't be any jobs. So then it wouldn't be "mine" anyways.
The reason I brought it up in the first place is because only within the last 10 years has it really gotten “bad” — completely because of instagram.
instagram influencing is now a business. it's advertising without the clear disclaimers or statements for who is paying for that advertising and why
a lot of this advertising requires traveling to cool/famous/chic/rugged locations and taking photos or videos there, so that followers feel they are also there, and get to see a cool place through the eyes of their "friends"
it's more than just social points gamification, it's a business, it's advertising with real money involved, and these natural settings are becoming the new ad studios that it's cool to shoot in (besides places like venice beach and rue cremieux)
and when businesses/money get involved, the natural respect for the environment/others using the space disintegrates in the face of profit and time maximization
I suspect cheap flights and accommodation, changes in fashion (city breaks vs package holidays), more disposable income and free time are all contributing.
Flying is an unusual product that gets cheaper over time. Supply has increased.
Airbnb has had an impact on hotel pricing and availability.
It's commonly understood that not all prices change in lock step, but "inflation" is the general or aggregate change in prices, usually based on the change in the purchasing power of money. Choosing to finance or pay cash for a car or a house doesn't change the price of the item, just your cost of acquiring it - it exposes you to expected future inflation, in addition to the current price, because you will be paying back the incurred debt with less-valuable future dollars. The interest you pay also pays for the use of someone else's money for the period of the debt.
Note, too, that inflationary monetary policy is also implemented by creating money in other ways, like a printing press, and inflation can also be caused by supply/demand shocks, like changes in supply/demand of fundamental commodities, like oil.
Just an example: https://www.slice.ca/travel/photos/most-popular-travel-spots...
A lot longer than that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Tour
And a lot longer than that: http://ieg-ego.eu/en/threads/europe-on-the-road/the-history-...
I'm not surprised you don't see how anybody is harassing tourists; you're a local so you don't get harassed. That's doesn't mean it's not an issue.
The reality is that the rich Spanish sold the rest of you out for a quick buck. That's why there aren't any good jobs and any reason to stay. Those that stay whine and complain. Yet every Spaniard I've talked to in northern Europe talks openly about the whining and the lack of desire to get to the root of the problem or take responsibility.
They are Spanish. They live in Spain. They speak either Spanish or Catalan and have no obligation to speak English to you. It's "very rude" of you to not try learn some basic Spanish.
I'm native English and live in Poland. My interactions with Poles (who mostly speak English and are happy to do try) are vastly different if they can see I am trying also: starting the conversation in Polish before transitioning to English is a much warmer experience than just starting with English from the beginning.
It's the same in Spain as well. Start with "hola" or "buenos dias" and then something like "podemos hablar Ingles?" or "perdon, no hablo Espanol" and suddenly 99% of these "very rude locals" will be incredibly friendly to you.
You don't need to, and most don't expect, that you can fluently speak to them in the local language. But they do expect that you respect them enough to try.
travel isn't the problem. People experiencing their lives via the lens of their phone/camera is. Take pictures by all means. But taking pictures to get likes from strangers in order to experience it as a valuable memory is pathological.
Edit: I hate to bring my phone with me when in nature because I feel it robs me of the experience I could have actually enjoying the moment. My ex always complained "why you never take pictures of these special moments?" ... If I would have my eyes on the phone it wouldn't be special. 10 or 20 years later I still have rich memories of those times where it mattered and I guess not having a phone/camera with me at the time was big part that it actually became a great memory.
For me it is in the other direction. I do not avoid social media (think I am on most on them...) but interact sparingly (less than once a month). Still I am sometimes an obsessive photographer exactly because I know I have a terrible memory.
This weekend just been, I was flown to a location by said authority, given a car for four days and basically set loose to photograph whatever interested me. (I shoot with a drone.)
Anyway, at the first of the two fixed experiences of the weekend (an oyster farm), I was sitting near two girls who had driven 700km for a weekend in this location all because they'd seen a girl's photograph on Instagram, shared by the authority. Coincidentally, that girl was seated five metres from them and also in the area shooting for the tourism authority because of how powerful social is now. The authority chaperone was right there in the middle to witness the power of her daily work.
For anyone who cares, this is my work: https://www.instagram.com/__serio__/
This is the shot the girls had seen: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs2aWsbHxT0/
I imagine the average HN user imagines these "travel couples" to be particularly obnoxious and I'm sure some are (like any subset of people), but this couple were very genuine and great people. Like me, they get out there because one hobby is photography; just a bit different to that of the typical landscape photographer.
No where we shot that weekend was anywhere near crowded. I almost always had miles and miles of pristine beach to myself. At this location, there would've been no one on that beach for 3-5 km in either direction, just 15+ dolphins playing in the waves.
Isn't this point a little disingenuous when you live in a country that's almost the size of USA or Europe, but only has 25 million inhabitants, and people from other countries have to travel far to get there?
(Can't edit my earlier comment, but the italics were from an asterisk/footnote rather than intended emphasis.)
Then the photography hasn't done its job yet. Will you like that beach more when it looks like this?
Everyone has a right to experience it, and I had the same experience or close to it on countless beaches in that area. We'd need a lot more people visiting before it got to even a hundredth of Bondi.
Any touristed location will reach an equilibrium with its crowds. There's always an alternative for those not keen on the hordes. Go to Simitai instead of Badaling. The Louvre has countless alternatives to the Mona Lisa's room. The Grand Canyon has dozens of vantages. You don't have to walk far from the central area of Zion National Park to have expanses to yourself.
Some people take yet another photo of a popular attraction. Others visit an online discussion and throw another viewpoint into the maelstrom as though it achieves much of consequence. Each to their own.
As far as I understand, you don't own the place. From my perspective, you are more selfish than these people. You don't want people to access public property because it "inconveniences" you? Seriously, what is wrong with the world.
The reason people didn't visit your place before because internet didn't make it popular enough and transportation wasn't that good. The fact that you were there first or had memories of it being empty doesn't make you own it (and thank god for that).
ps: I used to live in a very nice part of the city. I ended up moving because the outsiders "wrecked" it. But it is fair. I only rented an apartment and the nearby small mountain and sea was public property.
So nobody owns anything, or has exclusive right, but when each area is used mostly by the respective locals, it's more sustainable all the way around. That's the tension.
And I think that's what the original commenter was alluding to.
Like I just don’t get people going to the Trevi fountain in Rome. The place is so crowded that all they get is pushing their way to a tight spot where they can see some of the horses, take the same picture than the first 1,000,000 results on google image and then push their way out. What’s the experience?
And yet most people who go there still regard the experience as profound.
The gatekeeping people have around the right kind of travel is amazing.
Also, that place was not yours. Yeah, it sucks that you can't get 100% pleasure out of it because 1000 people are getting 5% of pleasure out of it...so maybe find a new spot? There isn't a shortage of wild places out there
I'll take a photo with them - it'd be 3 fat guys standing around shirtless drinking beers. :')
Either that or getting your photo with shirtless fat guys becomes the new point of the exercise (with people getting more likes the fatter the guys).
Foot traffic will degrade natural sites, with the fees they can better take care of these sites and ensure they don’t become overrun.
Bhutan has an interesting system for foreign tourists, they have a visa cap as well as a hefty visa fee. It’s one way to dampen demand to more sustainable levels.
Historically tourism has been very bourgeois, now it’s become ‘democratized’ bug that has untaxed externalities.
What is life if not an accumulation of experience?
It's not technically yours, sure, not in any sort of legal sense, but your cultural and historical connection to it is meaningful. Your SENSE of ownership over it wouldn't hold up in court, but that doesn't mean it's immaterial. It doesn't afford you the right to kick people out, but it does excuse some frustration over the crowd, and a sense that maybe they're not as entitled to it as the locals are.
No, no one can tell those people to leave. But I think tourists have a serious responsibility to consider how their presence impacts the area.
But there's a tension there, of course. It's selfish to hoard and hide things like this, and the world has a lot of wonderful things in it. But I think I'm more sympathetic to locals than I am tourists.
More broadly, the elevation of travel to a spiritual practice is a big time lie. I don't doubt it has some benefit but it's moral and spiritual inflation is similar to people's attitudes about aesthetic appreciation--you can be a shitbag and have good taste. You can be an utter bastard and be well-traveled.
Really? Because although I may not have travelled much, I can't say it's ever been "about me". Quite the opposite. For me travelling is about where I'm going, what I'm experiencing, who I'm meeting. I think your applying your perception of a subset of travellers on the body at large.
You could also speculate about much harder to prove thesis. For example, if travel & "global citizenship" helps avoid a great war, that's quite a lot of damage & destruction averted.
From a social media narcissism eating the world standpoint, it's also pretty bad to be spending thousands of dollars to travel somewhere just to shoot an instagram shot and hope for likes (imho).
As another comment said before, travel nowadays tends to become that super selfish adventure where the only things that matter is to come back with the best selfies and brag on social networks about how cool it all was. It is not like that for everyone of course, but I have the feeling for a lot of people traveling means going to somewhere famous to get a stupid Instagram shot, with zero concerns for other people or the environment.
Maybe that like everything else, traveling became too easy which started a race to the bottom for attention and pushing people to do more and more stupid and selfish things to be seen.
Traveling is still extremely important to personal development. The current development does not negate the importance of the first. It's like saying reading books is no longer important because everyone today just reads facebook posts.
So, yes, it is definitely still possible to go to a remote location in Asia and be exposed to a different culture, but if you go to any major city, you will mostly end up in a hostel with loud millenials that don't really care about anything else than maximizing their own experience.
Interesting, I tend to think the opposite. Often it's the tropical beach resorts that cater western amenities and mindless hedonism. Cities tend to bring a conglomeration of the country's culture together, and they offer far more non-hostel/traveler places to stay/eat.
No remote trip to Asia is necessary, unless you want to go there!
oh honey, it wasn't 10 years ago -- it was when you and your friends were 10 years younger. The post-adolescent wanderlust continues to cast its spell as it did 20, 30 years ago..
I remember going to Tanzania for a safari with my dad when he turned 50. It was amazing and everyone wanted to document everything. This was 2007 so no Ig.
At some point I realized that staring at my viewfinder is a bit less immersive than actually looking, smelling and feeling your surroundings. Even the mental state of looking for frames or photogenic objects oriented me towards thinking about when I'm no longer here, showing stuff to my friends.
What I've found is that since EVERYTHING is photographed all the time and I'm constantly exposed to them, most of these spots to visit are anticlimactic in the extreme. St Paul's Cathedral? Meh. I've seen everything in it from every angle shot by professional photographers that have been given access that I'll never have. Every beach we visit, every set of mountains we hit, I've seen photographed and captured at its most perfect. My random Sunday afternoon visit will never live up to it. I still find some enjoyment in it but most of the joy of a new discovery has been sapped away.
Well, what's harmless fun when one person does it becomes an ecological catastrophe when ten thousand people get wind of it and want a piece of the fun, too.
I get that people want to get to a nice place. So do I. But when we get there, and find another ten thousand people who had exactly the same idea, it's not a nice place anymore. So why does everyone insist on going where everyone else goes?
I'm Greek and I've seen this first hand in our islands, that are tourist magnets. I once made the mistake of going for a couple days to Santorini in the middle of the summer. Never again. Such were the throngs of people trying to get to town that it took us half an hour to advance, shuffling and bumping on warm human bodies, a distance of a hundred meters or so. I learned to spend my summers in Athens, where it was calm and quiet with everyone gone. You could set up a nice game of football in any of the main traffic arteries if you were so inclined.
Even Athens city, one of the ugliest places on earth, becomes almost pleasant when you have it all to yourself.
See also the Tate Modern's viewing deck — https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/02/12/tate-modern-neig...
See also Lombard Street
You usually only have to watch for a few minutes to see people stopping traffic for a picture. I just saw a group from only a minute of watching!
Utter pillocks crossing, than turning around to recross the crossing (and again, and again). Oblivious ninnies stepping out onto the carriage way with their attention focussed on some or other device in their hands to photograph the aforementioned pillocks, and Londoners seemingly used to them going about their business.
But that’s not so surprising. Local people usually don’t explore as much as tourists. They have their daily routines and eventually go to places for a reason. I actually often ask a non french friend of mine to bring me to new places because she still kept that explorer mentality. She knows Paris better than i do in some ways.
I don't have an Instagram account though...
This is from a brilliantly honest and short essay about the Tinder culture and its impact on the author. Well worth a read.
Does anyone have anecdotes on this?
> When the traffic on Timothy Connor’s quiet Maryland street suddenly jumped by several hundred cars an hour, he knew who was partly to blame: the disembodied female voice he could hear through the occasional open window saying, “Continue on Elm Avenue . . . .”
> The marked detour around a months-long road repair was several blocks away. But plenty of drivers were finding a shortcut past Connor’s Takoma Park house, slaloming around dog walkers and curbside basketball hoops, thanks to Waze and other navigation apps.
> “I could see them looking down at their phones,” said Connor, a water engineer at a federal agency. “We had traffic jams, people were honking. It was pretty harrowing.”
> And so Connor borrowed a tactic he read about from the car wars of Southern California and other traffic-weary regions: He became a Waze impostor. Every rush hour, he went on the Google-owned social-media app and posted false reports of a wreck, speed trap or other blockage on his street, hoping to deflect some of the flow.
> He continued his guerrilla counterattack for two weeks before the app booted him off, apparently detecting a saboteur in its ranks. That made Connor a casualty in the social-media skirmishes erupting across the country as neighborhoods try to contend with suddenly savvy drivers finding their way on routes that were once all but secret.
We need "Herd Hackers". The herd mind needs a good kick in the right direction once in a while.
Charge users $24.95/month to take more selfies with new backgrounds.
“Sell” the franchise for $199/month to anyone that wants to set one up.
$499/month for the enterprise plan (twice the features for half the stability).
I blame him for contaminating my mind with all of these concepts.
Everything that stands out, that is remarquable, attracts attention and curiosity, that's what to expect. If you don't want that, don't make yourself stand out.
nature landmarks damaged by unmanaged tourism, now countries are looking at limiting tourism.
don't put such a narrow view point into public space. you sound like you wish for celebs to not have any privacy, just because of their popularity.
I'd say that the opposite idea would be more something like Abbey Road's Beatle picture: that one likely didn't have planning/authorisation, but changed the place for a long long time.
So what has changed here? Has the instagrammability of this street led to more people visiting it? Or has the need and desire to photograph and broadcast your entire trip led to people taking more choreographed and more elaborate photos?
If it’s the former, then the issue appears to be that Instagram has changed tourist preferences. If it’s the latter, then it appears to have changed not just preferences, but behavior, where tourists don’t visit a place to enjoy their visit, but rather to broadcast that they have visited it.
That's exactly it, Instagram ""influencers"" posted pictures on that street and it created a marketing effect which brought all those people there.
If I stay inside someone’s home for a week spending time with them but not leaving the house, does that count as visiting that city/state/country?
What about if I walk the streets for 3 days but don’t talk to anyone local?
Do I need to spend money? Do I need to visit tourist sites? Do I need to visit a museum?
I like to record memories but I don’t post or tweet or gram. Does that mean I’m visiting? Or not visiting?
I never watched the show, so when people asked me for directions I used to assume they meant the painted ladies.
Gradually I realized I was wrong: Nowadays, more often than not, there's a line of people waiting out front to pose and cars double parked.
Apparently the remodeling is explicitly to change its appearance in order that people will stop.
I've heard similar stories for the Mrs. Doubtfire house.
rock stacking, used in the mountains to mark a safe path, and used by idiots to be ~hip~ on IG.
it causes a real stress on local resources and causes aggravated erosion.
i have travelled alot, but dear god i hate the american/western style of doing it.
If you want to stack rocks that's fine. Just make sure you put the stones back when you're done.
damaging a shared resource so you can feel like your name will preserve, is the highest level of narcissism.
Won’t list it here, it’s in the 19th. ;-)
Though I loathe Instagram-tourism, it's existence isn't exceptionally problematic to these places. It's just one factor amongst many.
If you go to Nice after june, the streets are a terrible place to be.
If you go to the Mont Saint michel in the summer, same.
Venice in Italia is like that during the whole year.
Living in those places make you hate tourists, even when you make money with it.
I was in Venice in mid-September a few years ago and it wasn't bad at all. Even places like the Piazza San Marco weren't really crowded. Go a few hundred meters away from the main attractions and the streets where empty. The only crowds we really saw where a few hours one day when a cruise ship showed up.
It is quite the invention, it both feeds on and nourishes the worst traits of the human brain. Everyone is against these vile dystopian societies described in so many books, all the while the seeds of these societies have been planted during our lifetime and we’re all watering and cherishing them.
Travel used to be about the journey just as much as it was about the destination, not by choice, but by constraints. Nowadays it's mostly about snapping a low quality pic of a sight people already know , going from A to B the fastest and cheapest way, packed like cattle in ultra dense flying or rolling metal cages, wreaking havoc on local environment and populations. After mass producing food, cars, culture, we’re now mass producing “experiences”, and they inherit the same traits as other mass manufactured goods: they’re cheap, meaningless, repeatable, bland, and most of all they’re not going to bring you the long lasting “happiness” you expect.
No amount of text will convey what you feel when you get to Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Louvre or other known places. The beauty of the place is dead, all you are left with is a chaotic heap of people shielding their faces from the very thing they came to “experience” behind cameras and phone.
Some people in this thread seems to think that the money brought by tourism counter balances everything. If your only metric is economic growth I have good news for you: a lot of modern issues can be ignored, maybe even all of them.
Debord puts it better than I’ll ever be able to:
“The present phase of total occupation of social life by the accumulated results of the economy leads to a generalized sliding of having into appearing, from which all actual “having” must draw its immediate prestige and its ultimate function. At the same time all individual reality has become social reality directly dependent on social power and shaped by it” “the more he contemplates the less he lives; the more he accepts recognizing himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and his own desires.”
“the collective pseudo-displacement of vacations, subscriptions to cultural consumption, and the sale of sociability itself in the form of “passionate conversations” and “meetings with personalities.” This sort of spectacular commodity, which can obviously circulate only because of the increased poverty of the corresponding realities.”