Dossier Les vacances autrement

Travel ? Same old, same old....

24 juin 2019

Vacations have also become part of a global economy.  Venice, Amsterdam, London, Berlin...the cities all look alike, or just about. The tourist economy is a profitable one.  This financial manna  attracts...but be careful of the other side of the coin.

Even at night, the Place Saint Mark of Venice
is overwhelmed by crowds@Gérald Machabert

Are you sure you are going to meet Venitians in Venise ?  The impressive number of tourists pouring into the city has transformed the traditional economic fabric of the City of Doges.  To accommodate this huge international flow, many homes have been turned into guest houses, boarding houses or Airbnb. Local populations no longer have the financial means to live in the center of Venice. And if you head for large capital cities the you will surely be welcomed by the tourist industry : the same standard hotels and the same tourists.  International uniformity in great vacations spots.


Of course architecture, museums and landscapes attract prople and encourage discovery, but the hordes of visitors in search of a sensational experience can be destructive. Several large cities have decided to erect gates at the entrances of their cities to limit frequentation. The gates close as soon as the quota has been met.

Exceptional natural landscapes have also become innocent victims.  The wish to discover virgin landscapes is becoming more and more enticing. But on the other hand this means destruction of the natural environment.  Trash strewn everywhere and anywhere, as well as the trampling of rare vegetation have forced authorities to close some places or at least to limit visitors.  An incessant flow of tourists is a major factor in pollution.

Obeying a trend...

Tourist agencies have understood this.  Sick of mass tourism ?  They suggest you fight hypertourism by inviting you to discover new and unexplored places.  The argument sells well but it only displaces  the problem and tourists continue to destroy.  Little by little certain places will become void of their cultural substance, as well as of their inhabitants.

It is time to react, just as it is time to respond to the question of ecology. This economic model is no longer viable  If we wish to transmit this heritage we shall have to change our consumer ways...and our vacations.

Nicolas Boutié
Journal Le Cep