The tourist who is curious about local cultures, who wants to meet the locals and talk to them, who asks questions, who is interested in other people while being respectful of cultural differences and who, when abroad, makes an effort to learn a few words of the local language, is the perfect tourist.
The type of tourist that all destinations love to welcome. However, as you can imagine, this is far from being the case everywhere. As tourism has become more and more widespread, it has also led to behaviours which are irresponsible, or even dangerous and disrespectful. As a future tourism professional, you don’t really want to encourage them. And as a tourist, make sure you’re not the person that nobody wants!
Everyone likes to party, of course. But what happens when it gets out of control? Or when the local residents and other tourists are disturbed by excessive noise or activity? If they have to choose between a family of tourists or a group that has come to party, hotel owners are much more likely to choose families. Not just because they don’t necessarily spend less money, but because they are able to respect the usual rules of society. Not to mention that groups of partygoers tend to give a tourist resort a bad reputation. This is why, in recent years, Las Vegas has invested in shows for the general public, family attractions and business tourism to rebalance its image as the Sin City, often associated with excess gambling and sex.
Do you want to party? That’s fine, but keep yourself under control when leaving a bar, concert, stadium or nightclub!
Have you heard of backpackers? These are tourists who travel the world with a backpack, following a simple, often very economical way of life. This has now led to the phenomenon of “begpackers”, a contraction of backpack and begging. These are backpackers who are often forced to beg in order to fund the rest of their trip or return to their home country. There is even academic research on the subject!
Asia in general, and Bali in particular, are destinations where there are a lot of begpackersπ, often from Western countries. As a result, the local authorities have started to report them to their countries’ embassies and they are poorly regarded by tourists and locals alike.
Some regions impose a tax on the number of nights spent in a tourist spot in order to fund local investments, improve tourist infrastructure and redistribute tourism revenue. To avoid paying this tax, lightning tourists try to visit a maximum number of places in record time, without sleeping on site.
There are many such tourists in Venice, who rapidly visit the iconic monuments, squares and streets, then depart before nightfall. To deal with this, some cities are organising and introducing daily taxes. Amsterdam therefore imposes a tax of €8 per person for visitors arriving by boat and €0.66 for tourists visiting by bus or on a tourist boat.
The group effect can have a big impact on tourism. The larger the group, the less aware the members are of the cultural differences to be respected or the appropriate behaviour to adopt. In some tourist cities, groups are targeted by the authorities. Since 1 January 2020, Amsterdam has prohibited groups of more than 15 people in certain districts, in particular the red light district known for prostitution and the sale of cannabis, which is however a tourist hotspot in the city.
If you come in a group, try to make it a small, discreet one, and make contact with others. It’s always more interesting to be a participant in your trip than a spectator!
This is a very large category of tourists, from lovers of selfies that put them in dangerous situations to people for whom nature protection is a vague concept, who don’t hesitate to feed animals when they shouldn’t or pick flowers in a protected park, for example. This also includes swimmers who go to banned beaches, skiers who go off-piste without a guide and without experience, etc. Try to follow the rules. Rules are there for a reason!
A catalyst for the good and bad sides of humanity, tourism is not free from abuses and excesses. However, when multiplied, they can have a real impact on some destinations. You may have seen pictures from Florence in Italy, a city overrun by visitors, where tourists sitting in front of Santa Croce church are swiftly moved on by jet sprays. As one abuse leads to another, the response might be more problematic (and ineffective) than the problem it is supposed to resolve, when it is done in a radical manner.