Travel’s golden rule: respect the place and the people

In places across the world, there’s a growing movement to ban or limit tourism.


It took on an extreme manifestation in Barcelona, when local residents spray-painted an anti-tourism slogan on a hop-on-hop-off bus outside FC Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium, and slashed its tyres.

Meanwhile in Venice, residents are protesting about the crowds of tourists, and the environmental damage done by cruise ships.

The Greek island of Santorini has limited the number of cruise ship passengers who can visit each day, and in Thailand, several islands are off bounds so they can recover from human overload.

There are also concerns at heritage sites around the world where tourists are not just upsetting local people but doing irreparable damage to the attractions they come to see.

The answer isn’t easy. Tourism brings in large amounts of money that many countries, and communities within them, can’t afford to forgo.

While it can be argued that points of natural or cultural interest belong to the world, tourism can be destructive and the people who have custody of these sites have the right to place limits on how many people can come and exactly what they can do.

From a tourist’s perspective, the key is to be mindful of the local inhabitants and respectful of them, their property and the attraction you are visiting.

Don’t litter, don’t steal or commit other crimes, don’t make unreasonable noise; just behave yourself.

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