Mass tourism ruins the places it loves | Letters | Travel


As an inhabitant of Edinburgh, and frequent visitor to the west coast of Scotland and Lisbon, I read with interest about the destructive impact of mass tourism (Skye’s the limit, 10 August; Mass tourism is at a tipping point, 11 August). I avoid central Edinburgh as it is overrun with tourists. Parts of the west coast of Scotland have become unpleasant and unmanageable as tourism has increased, and Lisbon has become a jam-packed pastiche.

Can the increase in tourist numbers be stopped? Can the justification of economic gain be coherently challenged? I think it crucial to act now, as real beauty is being destroyed. So, the single-track roads on Scotland’s west coast could have bans for campervans, caravans, minibus tours, coaches. Cruise ship bans? Tourist tax? Do Guardian readers have any other ideas?
John M Barrett
Edinburgh

There are three necessities to having a successful tourist destination: access, access and access. And this is what low-cost flying has delivered to many totally unsuitable destinations. In the 1980s I ran the original Greek island-hopping programme, using scheduled flights and charging more than £300 for two weeks in guest houses. Today, it costs less £200 for the same two weeks with a cheap airline.

Many of today’s cheap holidays are “all-inclusive” – meals and alcohol are included in the price. This is the worst type of tourism, as local accommodation, restaurants, bars, etc are not used and the money is kept by the large companies, often foreign owned.

Is there a solution? The raw, neoliberal capitalism practised in Britain and much of the west may offer a solution by reducing the number of people who can afford to take even these cheap holidays.
Michael Gold
London

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