Protests about how tourism is ruining local communities in popular destinations are nothing new.
Concerns in tourism honeypots such as Venice, Florence and Paris are documented as far back as the 19th century.
What recent isolated incidents involving anti-tourism political campaigners in Spain reflect are not the impact of mass tourism alone but of untrammelled growth.
Maybe tourism has become a victim of its own success, but as Abta boss Mark Tanzer pointed out this week, it has been guilty of chasing volume at the expense of quality.
The liberalisation of travel, chronicled by the Office for National Statistics’ ‘Holidays in the 1990s and Now’ report this week, has brought great benefits for travellers and destinations alike.
And our sector must oppose any attempts to ration travel supply, a move that would mean only those who can afford it would experience its many enjoyments.
But with the rise of low-cost flying, which severed the link between air and bed capacity, now fuelling the unregulated sharing economy, the floodgates have opened.
Popular destinations such as Spain and Portugal are trying to disperse tourism away from hotspot destinations where negative impacts are being felt most acutely.
In the past, operators chartering flights at their own risk helped to do this. Today the ever-growing number of cheap airline seats largely serve already popular destinations most likely to sell.
The irony is much of this new wave of mass tourism is driven, according to the marketing hype, by people’s desire to ‘live like a local’.
But tourism needs consent. What if the locals don’t actually want you?
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