We have recently seen videos of overcrowded mountain paths full of hikers ascending Mount Everest. Tragedies of cruise ship crashing in Budapest and Venice are painful reminder that how much is enough to keep up with the demand of world tourism. Ultimately, is it greed that propels tourism?
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, in 2018, tourism and travel spending grew 3.9 percent. That number surpassed the global economic growth of 3.2 percent and accounted for 19.4 percent of global economic activity.
Contributing factors of growing number of tourists include cheap airfares, building of more hotels, and new disposable income among rising middle classes. China is one of the big contributors to the current growth. For example, in 2018, a total of 149.72 million outbound trips were made by Chinese tourists. The number is up 14.7 percent from the previous year. This data is from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Countries are placing rules and regulations to control over tourism.
In the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhután, visitors are required to make reservations with a government accredited travel agency. A daily payment of US$250 a night covers basic accommodation, a local guide, food and transportation. No visa can be issued until the full payment is made in advance.
Last year, the island of Boracay in the Philippines was closed to tourists fox six months to clean up the damage caused by tourism. The 6-months closure cost the island US$1 billion in lost revenue. As of the December 2018 reopening, the island of Boracay is limiting the daily number of tourists arrivals to 6,400 a day. J.J. and I have taken our boys when they were still small. The only way to access the island then was either by banca (outrigger) or in our case we hired a veteran French bush pilot and his private plane. It was truly a pristinely beautiful island paradise, an adventure we will never forget.
The two of us are passionate about travel. We also try to be travelers rather than tourists. We visit countries and it’s cities and towns during off season months. J.J. and I study the language, history and culture so not only do we obtain new knowledge and understanding but hopefully, our brief encounters will also provide locals the opportunity to gain new insights.
Aloha -- Cathi