Avoiding Drive By Tourism
Too often the the destination, especially if it is poorer destination reaps little benefit from their tourism industry. Visitors fly in on foreign airlines with foreign package touring companies, stay in chain hotels and often literally ‘drive by’ as the main attractions are viewed, from the air conditioned coach.
Once again cruising is a major culprit with ships docking for a day. Visitor spend is often tiny as rooms and meals are taken on board and pre booked tours are sold to cruisers at high prices. Venetians have taken action and imposed a ‘cruise tax’ to help pay for the infrastructure that all the tourism to Venice needs and degrades.
Escorted coach group tours do much the same. Often staying at (cheaper) out of town hotels. The City of Cambridge in England recently calculated that the average coach tour visitor does little more than crowd their narrow streets and spend just a few Pounds each during their brief visits.
The tourist suffers too, having a superficial experience, with little or no local interaction, likely a short, limited stop to ‘tick off’ a sight. Including so many sights in an itinerary is a natural tour operator’s goal, but I recall marveling at coaches driving into the parking area at Scotland’s magnificent Stirling Castle, after it had closed for the evening, viewing it for a few minute and then quickly moving on! What is the real point?