The Impact of Tourism

When is enough enough with post processing

More videos today, but instead of showing other photographers, I thought we might look at the impact of tourism. It is something that really concerns me.

The Impact of Tourism

There is something about people and wanting to travel. I’m not big on travelling, but I do see places and think about how I would like to see them one day. Though having said, I’ve also resolved myself to the view that I will never many of them, if any. Why, because I don’t want to be part of the problem.

Tourism is a massive problem. The impacts of it are far reaching and they are often things we don’t think about when we are doing it.

Me Travelling

I have travelled and earlier this year I went to New Zealand. To me the effects of tourism were so apparent in Wanaka.

The Impact of Tourism

So many people go there to photograph this tree in the water. We do have to wonder how long it will be there. While I was there I saw some Instagram account asking people who wanted to go with him to climb the tree. Seriously, I kid you not. How did this person not realise what a disaster that would be? It was enough that over 200 people were there the morning we went to take photos. I don’t know that we had a massive effect, but there would have been something.

Often the effects are silent and not something we see, but what we leave behind. I think for me it was photographing that tree that made me feel guilty and I’ve been asking myself since then, do I really want to be part of all that.

It really does beg the question of how you can want to go to a place where the local population think you are venom?

So today we are looking at some videos on the impact of tourism.

How mass tourism is destroying cities

Is tourism harming Venice?

This is a much longer video and is all about Venice. It looks at the effect of tourism there, but also at how the people who live there are struggling to survive. It is sort of sad to see so many people going there and making it impossible for those that call it home.

The ‘Instagram Effect’ Is Driving Too Many Tourists To Some Destinations

A short video on what is being called the ‘Instagram Effect’. It is something I’ve heard about before and something I try to be aware of. When I go to places to take photos I’ve been trying to keep the location of where the images were taken to myself. While other people might find them, I don’t want to be part of the problem by helping people find them.

This video looks at the effect of Instagram on many of the popular tourist places.

I’m not saying you can’t travel, but maybe you need to work out how to do it without the amount of impact we are seeing. Be a thoughtful tourist.

You might be interested in …


  1. I live in Zion National Park, and I see this all the time. Here in this six mile long slot canyon last year we had about 4.5 million visitors. This averages out to about 40,000 or more per day during the year. We have had several natural events (landslides) that have closed several awesome trails indefinitely. Others are closed right now for repairs from a flash flood a couple of years ago that destroyed an entire trail system. Most of those are open and the last one is being repaired now.

    On the most popular hiking trail, Angel’s Landing (a trail that climbs 1,800 feet in 2.5 miles to a razor thin 2 foot wide ridge in places) the wait time to go on this trail last year was almost four hours and a long line about 1/4 mile long just to get on the trail.

    There really is not a good solution to this problem of this Park being loved to death.

    1. OMG that is so many people. That is a huge impact on the place. I’ve heard of many places that people are no longer allowed to go to anymore because of what is happening, sad, but if we don’t do anything they won’t last. Uluru has now made it illegal to climb, they tried asking people not to do it for a long time, but no one listened, so now, it just isn’t allowed. Sometimes very strong measures have to be taken.

    2. The National Park Service is looking at options for permits or reservations for hikes, but that would drive away tourists and the local economy would suffer. In the last five years I’ve seen about a dozen new hotels go up in the area, not counting the dozens of air-bnb’s that have come in.

    3. It is a catch 22 really, if you stop them coming the economy suffers, but if the area ends up so damaged then you lose all that anyway. I hope they find a solution.

  2. My wife and I have lived with a bucket list of places we want to visit. Some are within the USA are some are outside the USA. It seems that we are being told to re-consider our retirement plans. That we are not welcome to be tourist. Say what?!!

    Am i to be believe that a USA citizen living in Utah should never visit Washington, DC because all the other tourist are ruining it? Shall the resident of Florida or New Jersey never see the Grand Canyon?

    At what point will we start making the argument that the only people who can visit a place are local residents and start requiring proof you live in a place to enter a town? I can see it now.

    Official: “Sir, please show me your travel papers”.
    Me: “I am just going to visit my sister. She lives in this town”.
    Official: “Make sure you don’t visit the monument. It’s for the enjoyment of residents only”.

    I’m not going to torture myself over this. When I can, I am going to travel.

    1. I don’t think anyone is saying you shouldn’t travel, but more think about what you are doing and try to lower the impact of it. If a place is really suffering from tourism, like Venice, then go there in the off season, that sort of thing. Or don’t go there and visit somewhere else.
      Tourists are becoming a pests, they really are. I hated them when I was travelling earlier in the year. Of course I was one as well, but it made me sick.
      I’ve decided that I want to see other places, but I’m doing to do in the borders of Australia. I will travel around here. I don’t have to catch planes to do it for some places.

      I think you are taking the argument too far Khürt, as I said no one is saying you shouldn’t do it, but think about what you are doing and what you can do to make sure you aren’t part of the problem. Something has to happen or there will be lots of places around the world that will closed to everyone. There are many tourist spots that are already like that which is sad.

  3. About the Instagram effect, some time ago I read about this site:
    It’s not only about the number of tourists going to a place… Is also about the people that don’t behave and don’t care about what they are seeing or visiting, they just want the photo, whatever the cost or footprint they leave behind. I guess is the same as the Instagram guy you wrote about, saying that he wanted to climb the Wanaka tree, but in a much larger scale.

    1. I’ve heard about this, we have a similar thing happening here with the Canola crops, people think it is fine to just walk into them for their Instagram shots. Exactly, they don’t care as long as they get the shot. Thank you for sending the link.

  4. This is both sad and shameful, Leanne. The videos really bring out all the horrific bits the tourists, obviously, don’t see in themselves.

  5. Hello Leanne,
    This is such a huge issue – it seems to me that without legislative limits on, for want of a better phrase, an individual or family’s carbon footprint – at least in the totality of annual travel miles, international tourism will continue to grow exponentially, and contribute very quickly to destroying our multifaceted world.
    Of course no politicians will grasp this nettle, and individual conscience and responsibility is the only chance. But I don’t know about over there, but here, even amongst a fairly green community, few seem capable of, or willing to include their own lifestyles in such decision making. It isn’t easy. Which is strange. Or maybe not given humans’ history.
    Surely seeing one (let’s say your) beautiful photo of that tree, is frankly sufficient – I don’t feel a need to go there. I can value such pristine beauty from afar.
    What I’d rather do is get out and enjoy our own local landscape and local natural world – there’s more than enough for a lifetime. Even better buy an ebike, and extend your range, and power it from a PV panel or two – Get used to this sort of limited transport and horizons now – it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to maintain and more acceptable in most places than a horse, and maybe that’s where we’ll all end up shortly unless something amazing happens….
    There always are counter arguments that people need your money, or the real issue is population, or we should all go vegan, or the ultimate cop out that we’re all stuffed anyway so why bother to do anything – it’s not easy but in the end, is there an individual moral responsibility for personal choices? Or not?

    best wishes

    1. Hello Julian

      Your comment almost mirrors exactly what my husband and I were just talking about. Especially about people who say they care what is happening to the environment, but don’t see they aren’t doing anything to stop it. That traveling can be one of the worst things to do.
      I think staying home and photographing where you are is exactly what we should be doing and I’m going to be blogging about that a lot more. We have done a lot in our home to help, we didn’t go vegan, but have gone vegetarian. We have installed a 10 kw solar panel system on our house and done lots of things to reduce how much power we need to run it. We haven’t paid for electricity for 12 months now.
      I think the biggest cop out is that it is a natural cycle of the planet, because now that we are exploiting it, apparently planetary cycles are much faster, so stupid. Though, sadly, I think we are doomed because everyone is a scientist and they think they know more than all the climate scientists out there. It is incredibly sad. Our politicians are only interested in what they can get from being in power. We are doomed, unless people start to wake up,
      Thank you Julian.

    2. Thanks Leanne – really interesting reply and I agree with a depressing sense of being doomed – only now feel it’ll probably kick in big time in our lifetime rather than in the future – we’ve also had PV for many years, big insulation projects done on our home which have transformed it, and much more thinking about energy use, which comes from personal thinking through of these issues – we haven’t been brave enough to go vegetarian, but do argue passionately and write and blog about the benefits of permanent pasture and its biodiversity, carbon storage potential and the healthy meat that can be reared in this way, which in our wet upland environment actually has little other option for any food output.
      But I think you’re right about bloggers writing/photographing their own patch – this is one of the huge ways in which “ordinary” folk can tell others what it’s like elsewhere in the world, the beauty and challenges which we experience whilst bypassing the politicos and mainstream agenda driven media.
      FYI we don’t have TV ( personal choice for over 30 years now) but did watch an excellent Indie Icelandic film the other night which maybe you’d enjoy if you haven’t caught it yet…Woman at War -about a middle aged woman who for eco reasons wanted to do something…
      Best wishes

    3. Well we are already starting to see the effects of it, every summer we seem to bring records for the hottest summer on record. Our summers seem to last for over 6 months, we really don’t get a spring or autumn anymore. It goes from one to the other. The snakes used to be out between October and March, and now it is more like August to May. Sea levels are rising, you can see it in Miami and in the south pacific islands.
      Good that you are thinking about what you can do. Though being a vegetarian isn’t absolutely necessary, but cutting down significantly on what red meat you eat is a fantastic start. Though eating fish is a problem as we are over fishing the oceans.
      I don’t know where it came about that if you want to be a photographer that you have to travel. I know I often feel that pressure, but I’m not going to do it.
      Thanks for the info about the film, I will have to see if I can find it. I feel the same way, I want to do something as well.
      Thank you Julian.

  6. I think that you’re quite correct Leanne. I am feeling more and more uncomfortable in that I often detect the sense that we are just getting in the locals’ way. This was most evident in Venice and Cambodia. For many places, it’s a double edged sword in that they need the tourist dollars more than they need the tourist presence.

    1. Thank you Ross. Yes, I’ve heard the same from a friend who has travelled recently, that locals hate them. It is a double edged sword, perhaps limit the numbers and charge them a lot more money. I don’t know.

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