Bruges Latest to Restrict Tourism

Jun 13th, 2019, 04:49 AM
  #1  
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Bruges Latest to Restrict Tourism

They want fewer cruise ships and fewer day-trippers in tiny Bruges. This despite the fact that locals don't seem to mind all the tourists. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/artic...ons/index.html
whitehall is online now  
Jun 13th, 2019, 05:13 AM
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I hope other famous sites like Bruges limit or ban those huge cruise ships too. Disgorging thousands of passengers into these small historic towns and islands needs to be controlled.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 05:39 AM
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The strain on the infrastructure and indeed on the structures is huge. Those old buildings are delicate and in need of protection.
These are places where people live and work not theme parks.
Maybe the locals don't object but the survey quoted is two years old now, and it doesn't say what the sample size was or who was questioned. Could have been hoteliers, shopkeepers and the like. Toursim has increased hugely over the last couple of years.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 07:01 AM
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Besides cruise ships, I think part of the blame should land on the cheap inter-Europe air carriers. I don't know what fares are like this year, but we've talked with Europeans over the last couple of years who have flown to another country for just a few days multiple times during the year. They say the air fares make these mini-breaks irresistible. Interesting that there is (seemingly) more awareness of climate change in Europe and yet the impact of all these flights doesn't register.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 08:09 AM
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I hardly think airlines are the same as cruise ships. Cruise ships by definition are tourists on trips that stop by a port for a few hours.

Airlines serve everyone for whatever purpose they need a flight. Lots of business travelers use them, as well as people just visiting family So I hardly think airlines should be "blamed" for too many tourists in Bruges, which isn't even right next to any major airport, and lots of tourists get there by train. Bruges itself should be blamed as it can control tourist cruise ships using their port. I'm sure boats have to have permission to dock there.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 09:33 AM
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It's probably not their port but Zeebrugge's and some of those cruise ship folk probably spend time in coastal towns too. It's a conundrum for sure - local businesses love the hoards of travelers.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 11:46 AM
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But they do not stay in hotels or eat at better restaurants in the evenings, not putting much in the local economy but crowds.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 12:10 PM
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Oh they buy things like old lace and modern lace and other souvenirs but yes not like money gotten from folks staying there. Yes, limit the cruise ship docks but that will hurt towns like Zeebrugge, etc as when parked there that's where they go out for dinner and nightlife. without Bruges as a draw these ships would go elsewhere.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 12:21 PM
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<<we've talked with Europeans over the last couple of years who have flown to another country for just a few days multiple times during the year.>>

I am a European who has been flying to another country just for a few days multiple times a year for decades. I might even fly to another European country for a day trip. I’ve been to NY couple of times for the day from London. It had nothing to do with budget airlines and it’s nothing new.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 01:27 PM
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Cruise ships contribute nothing but harbour fees to Zeebrugge, which is part of the community of greater Brugge. People on cruises do not normally pay to eat an evening meal in harbour when they have already paid dearly for full board on the ship. There is no nightlife in Zeebrugge, and even if there was they would again stay on board and enjoy whats on offer there. Ships sail at night anyway, most people don't enjoy too many sea days and just want to wake up in the next port.
Places like brugge, Amsterdam, the far north of Scotland are the victims of their own success at promoting themselves. TV shows, films, Music videos all help destroy the pristine places they use as sets, by making these places known to a large audience who all want their instagram photo of wherever. Until very recently the numbers of tourists were high but acceptable, but with so many cheap flights from all over the world and so many more people able to afford to travel tourism is killing the very things these people (me included) want to see.

I'm a European and I have only flown to another country for a few days three times in my life, twice because we were were given the trips, and once for a wedding in the UK when it was cheaper to fly than go by car, and we had no desire to stay longer than we had to.
I read of plenty of people on this forum who think nothing of flying several times a year for maybe 7 days at most to Europe or Mexico/Carribean or even just withing the US. You cannot criticise Europeans for flying within their own continent when you fly within your own state.
There should be a proper tax on aviation fuel however, and a compulsory CO2 compensation payment/tax.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Cruise ships contribute nothing but harbour fees to Zeebrugge, which is part of the community of greater Brugge. People on cruises do not normally pay to eat an evening meal in harbour when they have already paid dearly for full board on the ship. There is no nightlife in Zeebrugge, and even if there was they would again stay on board and enjoy whats on offer there. Ships sail at night anyway, most people don't enjoy too many sea days and just want to wake up in the next port.
Places like brugge, Amsterdam, the far north of Scotland are the victims of their own success at promoting themselves. TV shows, films, Music videos all help destroy the pristine places they use as sets, by making these places known to a large audience who all want their instagram photo of wherever.
Combine this with geotagging on social media (tagging the location on Instagram, Facebook), has also lead to these increases. Iceland Air has offered the stopover program for several years, if I'm not mistaken. Their boom is also pointed to social media (and yes, in part to budget WOW until it's demise).

I don't know what the true solution is other than to travel as responsibly as I can. What that looks like, I don't know. For now, I am going to try to limit my social media posts and tagging when I travel. Not that I have a wide audience! I also opt for hotels rather than apartments, which considering my upcoming Croatia trip is almost entirely sobes - which existed long before Airbnb. I guess it's not supposed to make sense!
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Jun 13th, 2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
You cannot criticise Europeans for flying within their own continent when you fly within your own state.
There should be a proper tax on aviation fuel however, and a compulsory CO2 compensation payment/tax.
I don't do a lot of flying around mostly because I find the whole flying experience increasingly unpleasant, but I'm also aware of the impact of air travel on the environment. Aviation contributes about 2% of global CO2 emissions, and the percentage is rising as more people fly more often. I agree there should be some kind of charge/tax/payment, but what good would that money be? Once the emissions are in the upper atmosphere, money on the ground can't get it back.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 04:40 PM
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CO2 taxes/charges can be used to invest in ventures which offset the impact of the damage of flying (e.g. tree planting, renewable energy, trains instead of planes and cars, low CO2 emitting technology, shared vehicle programs, clean water). I too think they should be compulsory when flying.
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Jun 13th, 2019, 11:25 PM
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I saw that TAP now offers Portugal stopover as well, which I thought was a bit weird. It’s not like Iceland, I wouldn’t think, which was probably not nearly as touristy before the stopovers. But I’m tempted to do it. It’s an effective promotion.

It also seems odd to me to blame tourism on cheap flights. Presumably, if those flights were not there, those Europeans would be cluttering up a closer, attractive destination via car for the weekend. Cruise ships are something else entirely.
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Jun 14th, 2019, 12:15 AM
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Try taking an early Ryanair flight from Dublin on a Sunday morning; full of kids who take a cheap flight, party all night and fly back in the morning. No need to fork out for a hotel. And if they're comatose on the flight back there's an ambulance waiting in Brussels.
Same in Barcelona; kids sleeping in doorways early in the morning. They get there on a cheap flight, but don't pay for a hotel. Plenty of budget for alcohol, apparently.
Stag parties that used to just get drunk in the local pub, now do so in a Ryanair destination.

Cheap airfares definitely have something to do with this kind of tourism.
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Jun 14th, 2019, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
Try taking an early Ryanair flight from Dublin on a Sunday morning; full of kids who take a cheap flight, party all night and fly back in the morning. No need to fork out for a hotel. And if they're comatose on the flight back there's an ambulance waiting in Brussels.
Same in Barcelona; kids sleeping in doorways early in the morning. They get there on a cheap flight, but don't pay for a hotel. Plenty of budget for alcohol, apparently.
Stag parties that used to just get drunk in the local pub, now do so in a Ryanair destination.

Cheap airfares definitely have something to do with this kind of tourism.
well, I wouldn’t want to be on that Dublin flight, but otherwise, that sort of goes along with my point. Drunk kids sleeping in doorways could be from the next town over if they weren’t from another country. At least they’re not posing for the 100th selfie on a bridge or something. I paused for a tourist the other day because I thought they were taking a photo. Nope. They were giving a friend a “tour” via FaceTime. In the middle of the sidewalk. AUGH.


Although honestly the drinking sounds more like an enforcement problem than a tourist problem. Seems like it would be easy enough to 1) crackdown on the clubs and bars 2) crackdown on Ryanair

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