Bill Hocker | Jan 23, 2020Update 9/14/19
CNN 1/23/20: Destinations have vowed to fight back against overtourism for 2020
NVR 9/14/19: Increased tourism worsens the staffing crisis
Tim Carl, as he did here previously
, again dissects Napa's ever expanding tourism economy and asks if it isn't time to begin to explore alternate and sustainable solutions.
Yahoo Finance 8/13/10: Tourism Is Eating the World
CNN 5/23/19: How Amsterdam is fighting back against mass tourism
Guardian 1/4/19: The death of Venice? City's battles with tourism and flooding reach crisis level
The Economist 10/25/18: The backlash against overtourism
The concept of putting gates at the entrances to neighborhoods in Venice to limit the number of tourists is a lamentable proposal. "'It's the last step to becoming Disneyland,' sighs one of the city's urban planners."
Perhaps one of the most memorable of the hundreds of bullet points from the Napa Strategic Plan
meetings is this from the Wine Growers:
"Fee for Silverado Trail (aka 7 mile drive)". It might be considered tongue-in-cheek were it not highlighted as one of their principal proposals. As Supervisor Pedroza at one BOS hearing dismissed the annoyances of the tourism economy that we are all having to deal with: "This is not Disneyland; I think it's just agriculture in the 21st century."
Dan Mufson sends along a link to this 2-part article in Der Spiegel on the worldwide pushback on the undesirable impacts of tourism on local communities:
Der Spiegel 8/21/18: How Tourists Are Destroying the Places They Love
As I have mentioned before
"Here's an important article that describes the state of tourism today and it's negative effect on locals. We heard the same message from Professor Mendlinger at our Forum on the Costs of Tourism
in April, 2016. George said then that tourism creates private profits along with socialized costs. Others now state this: 'Tourism is a phenomenon that creates many private profits but also many socialized losses,' says Christian Laesser, a tourism professor at the University of St. Gallen.
When will our elected officials acknowledge this?"
, our travels are no longer as naive as they use to be. We now see every place visited through the lens of the impact of tourism on our own appreciation of Napa. And on the environment
. We are headed to Porto for a conference in October, so the Der Spiegel article is timely - and concerning.
The Gardian 3/7/18: Europe's beauty spots plot escape from the too-many-tourists trap
The solution proposed by a tourism conference in Berlin? Spread it out. Rather than being overwhelmed by tourists at peak periods, have constant tourists at every location at all times. This is a tourism industry solution to the very real impacts that tourism is having on residential communities all over the world. And, in fact, it is the solution that Napa County takes with Visit Napa Valley. When I asked Mark Luce why the county spends millions of dollars on Visit Napa Valley
each year to attract more tourists, he said that it's not about attracting more, but in spreading out the tourism by promoting visitation in off-months and off-hours. What it really does is to promote filling up the level of tourism at all times to match the overwhelming tourism at peak periods. And, of course, to increase the tourism urbanization that threatens the rural small town quality of life in the county, impacts not so different to those being felt, and fought, around the world.
The Local (Italy) 7/4/17: Venice residents protest against tourist influx
NYT 8/2/17: Venice, Invaded by Tourists, Risks Becoming 'Disneyland on the Sea'
sends over this link to the latest in Venice:
The Telegraph (UK) 6/12/17: Venice bans new hotels as crackdown on tourism continues
Which also references their article on Amsterdam: Amsterdam has become 'unlivable' as residents fight back to stop 'Disneyfication' of city
(When it comes to wine tourism, the term of art is 'Napafication'
, and the negative impacts are just as onerous). And more recently the resistance is becoming aggressive: DailyMail (UK) 8/2/17: Majorca is hit by anti-tourism protesters
The international uprising of locals against the unwanted impacts of tourism has been building for some time, as chronicled in this 2015 article in the NY Times
It is interesting to look at the ratio of yearly tourists to residents to ask if there is some breaking point at which rebellion occurs. Venice is the extreme example: 20 mil tourists/yr and 265,000 residents (including suburbs) or 75 tourists/resident/yr. (Just
look at this graph
to see what the "success" of post-war tourism has done - and can still do - to a resident population, a goal that the tourism industry might prefer.)
Compare this to the other cities mentioned in the articles that have been experiencing tourism backlash:
Venice 75 tourists/resident
Charleston: 38.4 tourists/resident
New Orleans: 27 tourists/resident
Amsterdam: 21 tourists/resident
Ankor Wat 9.1 tourists/resident
Barcelona: 4.4 tourists/resident
Berlin: 2.6 tourists/resident
Copenhagen: 1.5 tourists/resident
Buthan: 0.3 tourists/resident (a ratio that any place wishing to maintain its quality-of-life should strive for)
Our local stats:
Napa 27 tourists/resident (2018)
Sonoma 14 tourists/resident
Napa currently is at the upper end of the ratio and is rapidly gearing up for even more
While it seems there is no universal magic trigger point at which resident anger over the threat to the character of their communities becomes actionable, clearly Napa residents, having moved firmly into the double-digit tourist-to-resident category, have begun to realize that a crisis is at hand.