Tourist Tax. I think this is a great thing. All the hotels and restaurants benefit from tourists, but many of the public places, i.e landmarks and green areas are only hurt from it. From the wearing down of materials–to trash on the ground, tourists can cause a big mess. I know it would impact my travels, but I truly wouldn’t mind if some places limited the numbers of tourists, or at least large tourist groups that come through.
I say this because there have been a few places along my way that I probably would have rather not seen because of the crowds. I know, this might sound spoiled of me, but I don’t mean it that way. I just mean, I think they can lose their impact/effect when you have to look past thousands of people to see the actual thing you came to see. Not to mention people only interested in getting a good selfie. Meanwhile, having to say no to all of the people selling fake purses outside. Although the ones selling bottled water and phone chargers can be very useful.
Often, my favorite places have been those which are less popular, and which I’ve had to myself. It becomes more intimate and you’re able to appreciate what your witnessing more. Sure, you might argue that there are landmarks that you MUST go see. But why? How many people have said they were disappointed in the Mona Lisa, yet still tell you to go see it?
My advice–Take a moment to think about what you like and seek out those things when you travel. For example, I know I don’t really enjoy art museums (I love art, but my art interests are very different that what is considered famous/popular). I like architecture, but the kind that shows culture or the kind that is the most “out-there”. I don’t really have interest in seeing too many churches or temples, but I am a fan of castles and palaces. I like any tour that has a nature and cardio element to it (hiking or canyoning) or one where I can learn a skill (candy making or landscape painting). And most importantly, if I don’t see something, I’m not going to stress about it. I hopefully missed it because I was enjoying my lunch in a cafe so much and lost track of time, or maybe I missed my train which is less enjoyable but equally as likely.
Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but if we all just did the things we truly wanted to, and not what we were told to do, our footprint would spread out a bit more.