Hit and run tourism

Old Apr 18th, 2024, 05:10 PM
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Hit and run tourism

I used to call these micro visits to a place a "drive by." But I like the term hit and run tourism because it implies some damage is left in its wake.

Here's an interesting article about coping with hit and run tourism, written by the director of the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence.

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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 11:57 PM
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I read that article too Jean, and thought it was an excellent term for modern tourism. So many people seem to just want to tick off a list of sights, gathered from Instagram and the like i assume, get their photo and move on to the next. They seem to have little interest in the actual place and even less in the local people or the damage they do. They also seem to contribute little to the local economy, despite claims to the contrary, and end up wrecking the very things they are wanting to see.

I guess it is the modern equivalent of the Grand Tour of old, but now it is how many places can I tick off my list in ten days?

I like the museum's approach. I hope it works for them and can be adopted by others to persuade at least some people to stay longer and see more.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 09:16 AM
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Good article. And no shade, because I haven't read the thread in question, but on my screen right now the thread immediately underneath this one is "Pais for a Day Is Doable."
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 09:42 AM
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I alao wonder if the cruise industry is partially to a result of this type of tourism. In port for a day, must "go go go," get that selfiie, onto next, YOLO and FOMO...and still only have pics to show for it.

On my last trip (solo) a friend home commented that I was not un any of them because she's convinced when I'm 80 I won't remember being there. I told her i didnt want to ruin the pretty shot with my face and when I'm 80, won't recognize the person in the selfie anyway!

Leely, that thread (Paris for a Day) was very contentious, too. I'd hope it would have died out, but still gets bumped up.

Regarding that curator's attempt to preserve David's... autonomy... when I was in Florence I. 2006 (before Instagram and before her arrival), his nether region was everywhere. I hope she has done her job, but somehow I doubt it.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 09:55 AM
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I suspect that having a belief that a photo, an instagram, a tiktok is the output that proves your holiday went well is pretty different from those who appreciate the experience of foreign travel. We are seeing more and more people coming for advice on visiting 4 different cities spread across the continent in fewer than 8 days. I would consider that a waste of time and money. But they don't and I suspect we are struggling to offer good advice because the idea is so alien.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 11:13 AM
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It is time for my newest brilliant idea -- the Green Screen Museum.

Each visitor would choose an itinerary, then enter the Green Screen Room. A technician would attach the visitor's mobile phone to a high definition digital virtual touring camera. The visitor would stand in front of the green screen, which the virtual tour camera would sequentially fill with a high definition view of the itinerary high spots replacing the green screen around the visitor to produce a selfie that would immediately upload into the visitor's mobile device. In a few minutes there would be selfies of the entire selected tour, ranging from a single city to a world tour.

The price would reflect the number of destinations, high, shoulder, and off seasons, and added fees for more distant locations, giving the visitor the financial feeling of taking an actual trip. Not only would the Green Screen Museum be far more economical than a real life trip, but it would have a negligible carbon footprint. As an add-on, the itinerary could include vouchers for typical meals matching the itinerary to be used at the convenient food court in the museum's basement, next to the souvenir shop. All souvenirs would be made in China, as they would be on the real life equivalent tour.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 12:55 PM
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I'm going to offer my pretty cynical view of the gist of this article: "Tourism officials think tourists aren't doing it right, and therefore will coerce them into doing things differently." Pfui.

When I was younger, I'm sure my tourism was somewhat "drive-by," including my cruises. But the vignette experiences I gained of various destinations were enough to inform me about where I wanted to spend more time to explore in depth. And everyone experiences travel and prefers to travel in his/her own unique way. Nothing wrong with that, assuming you don't leave a damaging footprint on the communities and locales you visit. And the linked article doesn't really identify any such damage.

If you want to talk about the "social media influencer" phenomenon and how ridiculous it, and they, are, you'll find agreement from me. That's another matter entirely, and it transcends travel.

Full disclosure: I don't take selfies.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 03:33 PM
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I see two sides of this dilemma. People on this board are genuinely fortunate that we are able to travel a lot, so if we go to Paris multiple times we don’t have to see the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower or go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. But think a minute about the person who has saved for years for that one magical trip to Europe. Of course, they’re going to try to see everything they can, because for them this might be their only trip to Europe. And if they’re traveling alone they might (gasp) take a selfie or two.

I probably fall more into the latter group of tourists (yes, I consider myself tourist), because, for instance, when we traveled to Portugal a couple of years ago, I wanted to see every damn site I could in those 17 days. Personally, I’m not the type of traveler (a demeaning phrase that people use to differentiate them from those darned tourists), who sits and soaks in the ambiance of a park for an entire afternoon. I can do that at home and not spend seven grand.

As far as contributing to the local economy, I’m sure the French, Italian ands Portuguese wine industries have thrived due to our many trips, as have restaurants throughout Europe. Even though we do see as many sights as we can (my group limits me, so we don’t all keel over after a week), and we do take a lot of photos (no selfies, however… they make us look fat), we still have left over time to contribute to the local economy by buying stuff we probably won’t ever use or wear again. Somehow, with all the sights we see and photos we take, we are able to take time to enjoy the good life at a sidewalk café or rooftop bar. And yes, sometimes we just go ambiancing (see Mexico City trip report for definition).

Cruise ships certainly pose a major problem, and I don’t know the answer for limiting hordes of tourists who look like they’re invading Normandy as they depart their ship. Social influencers who do “photos shoots” in front of the David and other sites are more than annoying.

At Livaria Lello in Porto, we witnessed a young lady dressed like a modern-day Marilyn Monroe, and sure enough when the doors opened she sprinted immediately to those famous red stairs and posed sitting and laying down on the stairs as others stepped over her. I’m afraid there is no hope for people like that.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 04:26 PM
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Lately I just want to avoid crowds, whether they hit and run or just mill about. I regret that many formerly lonesome spots are becoming attractions.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 03:31 AM
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We’re like maitaitom. We’re going to Budapest next week, then Krakow and Warsaw for 13 days on the ground. Unlikely to go back, so we have a pretty busy schedule planned. Last year we spent a week in Rome, a week in Paris in 2022, but took it easy. Visited some old favourites, walked around and explored small piazzas and churches, sat down for a coffee or aperitivo… We’ve been several times and will probably go back again several times, especially Paris.

My mom loved cruises in her later years and we’d go with her. Not quite my cup of tea, but it was an easy way for her to travel, in several instances it was my first visit to places I went back to again on land tours.

But no selfies, I don’t even know how to take one, though surprisingly my husband is quite adept at it!
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 04:22 AM
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Maitai I’m with you…there’s 2 sides to every story.
I have struggled to understand the travel style of the younger generation. I believe much of it has to do with the lack of time to do travel research that many people have. They want to have the experiences their friends are having, but there isn’t the interest in history or the understanding of culture anymore. Research is all on the internet. Even travel books I have bought recently have less focus on slow travel and more emphasis on the must see sights. Does it have something to do with a generation of younger people who receive information in small digestible bytes? I honestly think so. Social media has changed the world.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 05:32 AM
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I've been guilty of "Hit and Run" and equally guilty of scoffing at "Hit and Run." And full disclosure, I was somewhat guilty of it for a few days on my last trip, and I may be guilty of "Hit and Run" on an upcoming trip (I do have a good excuse), so I while I will do my best NOT to be part of the larger problems, who knows?

I am grateful for what we got to enjoy before selfies and cruise-ship madness. After all, how many of us here had opportunities others will never have?
  • How many of us started traveling with the belief "We'll never be back here again" and then found out we actually COULD return? And return more than once?
  • How many of us got to learn that the difference between "travel" and "vacation" means learning how to deal with problems on the fly?
  • How many of us eventually had opportunity and time to move into foreign city neighborhood for a week or more and chill?

We didn't have social media when doing so, so our modes of traveling could more or less naturally evolve from a checklist and more into a "I'd like to take this all in" and we didn't have a full onset media barrage while this happened. Most people never had and never will have that same opportunity of evolvement.

Yes, I do blame a lot of rather disgusting tourist behavior on a "See me!" culture with cell phones. In 2019, I was aghast at teens taking selfies under a newly installed, special exhibit sculpture at The Pompidou. My jaw dropped. When we witnessed a foreign bride getting her photo op inside a Venice Cathedral during Sunday Mass with the altar and priest behind her, I started walking towards the photographer but was restrained by my daughter. This "no boundaries"/ "no respect" type of tourism is insane.

I equally blame "cruise culture". It's the new and almost inescapable "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium" mindset. I remember almost barfing in Venice when I heard a man at our Venice hotel bar say, "There is no better way to experience the world than on a cruise." And his bar mate nodded emphatically.

Sure. Get off the boat, do your checklist or hire a guide. Buy a souvenir. Done. You've seen the world! And you can therefore discuss world politics with total self-assurance.

And unfortunately, you will.

Most travelers now don't realize how cruise ships have impacted influx into once beautiful cities that used to have skylines not occluded by cruise ship shadows. I'm just grateful I have gotten to see the "before" in so many places instead of just the "after." In Istanbul and Barcelona, it's an actual visual tourist tsunami as the ships expel their passengers. We will never forget reading books on our Venice hotel balcony and having the sun blocked out by an arriving cruise ship taller and larger than any Venice building (that route has since changed, YAY).

And too many passenger behaviors can follow suit. Bigger and larger.

When we were in Cobh last summer and trying to head back to Cork, we were temporarily stymied by the automatic ticket machine at the rail station. We giggled at our ineptitude, and when we finally figured it out, we turned around and apologized to the line behind us, "Excuse us. We're American Idiots. You know what we're like." And that statement has worked for us for decades to disarm unfriendly feelings wherever we've gone because recognize our culture is so horribly intrusive. Respect. Sure enough, the locals laughed, and all was grand.

But we were followed by a couple as we waited for the train to arrive. Yep, they were Americans on a Cobh cruise ship. And OMG, they thought we were on their cruise (!!! All Americans must be on a cruise !!!), and they asked us why in the world we would say something like that. After all, "we Americans" could pay for this wonderful cruise, and "the locals could never afford that".

Again, insane.

Well, none of us can return to the past. Instead, we can only continue to remind ourselves that wherever we visit, we are guests. And as such, we can respect our hosts and the culture and the art around us.
Even if we are the only ones doing so.

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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 07:13 AM
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Omg, they actually said that to you that locals could never pay for a cruise like that?! I hope you had a pithy retort for that, I would have, in fact their ears would have been blistered. I hate cruises, have taken a couple and never again, especially as I found they were filled with people like that and I felt like punching people on the regular. Arrogance and stupidity make a very bad combination.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by raincitygirl
Omg, they actually said that to you that locals could never pay for a cruise like that?! I hope you had a pithy retort for that, I would have, in fact their ears would have been blistered. I hate cruises, have taken a couple and never again, especially as I found they were filled with people like that and I felt like punching people on the regular. Arrogance and stupidity make a very bad combination.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 09:53 AM
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Exactly Bilbo not to mention holiday time, health benefits etc but try to tell that to people who are convinced they are the best in the world. On my last cruise we were chatting with the most ignorant self involved, self important man from LA who just felt that if he had the $ then it was his right to do whatever he wanted etc etc. We got onto the topic of how native Hawaiians felt about their islands being, first, stolen from them, and now, over developed. The things he said about that were so vile I told him okay I'm leaving now because in about 2 seconds I am going to really lose my temper and it is going to get ugly, I will leave before I tell you exactly what you are.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 09:58 AM
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raincitygirl No, I had no pithy response. I was too stunned to say anything. I was at a total loss for words. As I was catching my breath to say something like, "I would not be caught dead on a cruise"--and yes, one of these days I will have to eat my words--my husband, Mr Anti-Social, especially towards fellow Americans in Europe, quickly said, "So where are you all from?" Note: he did not explain that we were not on the cruise. The correct move.

So we got on the train, and I rushed to the utter end of it, trying to escape, and they somehow followed us (and I'm faster than a speeding bullet), asking to sit with us. Well, it was, after all, a short ride.

It did not seem to be short enough. All the way to Cork, the man talked about how great our country was, and how great he was. LOUDLY. I saw, as my husband seemed to note at first glance on the platform, that the wife was rather embarrassed. And when she asked where our cabin was, I just explained that we were doing a "land cruise", switching the subject to ask her about her ship's destination, etc. We ended up having a nice little conversation while her husband continued to rattle on.

And later I got it--my husband had figured it out at the get-go, long before I did. This older man, actually a bit younger than we (well, a LOT younger than my husband) had just retired, and this was his trip of a lifetime. It WAS a luxury-level cruise, so... He may not have had anything else to brag about before and may never again have anything to brag about. Anything I said to him would have been like killing a fly with a nuke, and his wife would have been the casualty.

We said goodbye and wished them well when we got off the train, scurrying away. I looked at my husband and said, "I feel bad." He nodded.

I hope everyone gets the drift.

bilboburgler--You know, the GDP isn't the point. The husband was an ignorant person in the true sense of the word: lacking knowledge or awareness. Nothing you could have told him would have made a difference.

And it's not just my countrypersons who exhibit such behavior. I remember being at a Michelin 2* restaurant where two couples from ANOTHER English-speaking country spoke loudly and disparagingly about "The French", speaking in front of waiters who probably had a far better command of the English language than they.

Then there was the time years and years ago when my husband and I were roundly chewed out in a Dublin pub by a young Irish fellow for voting for a certain American President for whom we had NEVER voted. What an assumption. My daughter was holding her sides laughing at that one.

We ALL are capable of making ignorant assumptions.

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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 03:02 PM
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Sounds like you made the right choice in that situation AlessandraZoe. In my case the wife was just as bad. How annoying that they followed you onto the train, yikes-full marks to you for sparing the poor wife.
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