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The end of tourism?

No, not really :grinning: just the title of an informative article, relevant to many of us on here:



It’s certainly changing, but I doubt it’s ending.


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"Is there any way to reinvent an industry that does so much damage? "

Debbie Downer here… it’s not the end of tourism yet but I do believe tourism as we know it will end. Most of what is discussed in the article is international tourism, and localized tourism can’t replace it in the global economy.

I said it before and the comments were basically, “that’s horrifying” but in the future tourism will be replaced by technology. People will be able to enter simulators or put on helmets that will replicate all the experiences and feeling from stimulating the taste buds to producing the stimulus so you can smell the elephant shit stuck to your boot. The economy will have to reconfigure or billions will die from our continued exploitation of the planet. I’m not seeing any credible science that says what we are doing is sustainable. Hopefully the worst of it will be after I die.

The section on the cruise industry was very short but I don’t see how it recovers to anything like pre covid levels. Why would anyone take a chance on getting stuck for months on a floating prison? Too many other icky choices.


I would like to think we can find a middle path. I think for example of Lost Maples. We just did the East Loop there a few weeks ago which is 4.4 miles. Although I saw lots of humans there, there is little evidence that over 200,000 people visit the natural area annually.

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I hope so. And like so many others I hope for some sort of technology breakthrough. But if millions stay “home” and to to their own Lost Maples, what does it look like with 400,000 people a year? What if the heat kills the trees and the loss of biodiversity changes the environment? What if scientists are right about sea level rise and increasing storms? Travel is a luxury and we need sustained economic growth. Where is it going to come from?

Tourism seems like it’s going to be a quaint footnote in the history of the world. I imagine a future history record (accessed via implants in our brains):

“From the 1800’s to the 2000’s tourism was a popular pastime for the middle and upper classes in the industrialized world. In the United States passport holders began to grow steadily through the late 1900s and by 2025 over half of Americans had one. During the unprecedented economic growth of that period though only 40% of Americans had ever been to a foreign nation including Canada and Mexico which were are that time bordering nations. The climate collapse of the 2130’s brought it all crashing to a permanent end.”

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I realize that sounds terribly dystopian but I’m actually thinking we would have sustainable and very happy lives. It’s just that traipising all around the world killing and polluting will be unnecessary and wasteful. We will seem just as primitive as medieval exorcists and bloodletters.


Aside from the ills you mention, excessive long-distance air travel, both for tourism and for unnecessarily-frequent business trips, add measurably to our emissions of greenhouse gases. I realize that learning about other people and interacting with them and with their historic and cultural institutions is a valuable and enjoyable experience, but our impact on the Planet is damaging those things . . . along with everything else. People still need leisure, I’d just like to see them take more of it a short drive or train ride from home.

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Already, we can talk to people all over the world - free - using the internet and what’s app. And with services like Skype, Facetime and Zoom, that can be face to face even if the person I’m speaking to is at the other side of the world.

(My old gran - born in the reign of Queen Victoria and living until the 1970s - would be completely dumbfounded by the technology we have today. She probably would even have a hard time understanding what we say.)

Facetime and the internet are things that were only known in the more crazy science fiction comics when I was a kid. But I imagine that technology will enable us to do this so much more in the future.

I’m still waiting for my flying car though and the ability to teleport. :slight_smile:


Absolutely. Virtual connections are still well short of actual visits in some ways, but superior in others. I “practiced” my Portuguese by getting a cheap calling card for Brazil and calling hundreds of hotels in advance of my visit there :slight_smile: I WAS looking for hotels, and I did eventually pick a couple (sorry, “AeroBnB,” but you didn’t yet exist), but of course I wouldn’t have contacted hundreds of them without the ulterior motive. I kept the calls to 5 min. or so each, so I wasn’t wasting tons of people’s time, but it was a great way to talk to real people in the three areas I planned to visit, each with its own regional accent. Bit of a digression, sure, but just one illustration of a PRE-Internet way to virtually learn a bit about language and culture from afar. Hopefully both leisure and business travel not go away entirely, but at least be scaled back in light of all the things we can do from thousands of miles away.

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A lovely meditation on the paradox of travel:

"At this stage, it is impossible to forecast in what form or health the travel industry will rebound. It still seems likely that the lifting of travel restrictions will lead to an explosion of vacation bookings, as a giant, furloughed middle class, mad with cabin fever, celebrates its emancipation by booking a vacation. It is vital that they do. Travel is a load-bearing pillar of the global economy, and a priceless engine of cultural empathy and exchange. It remains my fervent hope that miraculous technological advances will mean that it can be part of a sustainable future.

However, those of us who emerge from this crisis unscathed, and desperate to reconnect with the wider world, would do well to remember what we learned during this sequestered spring. To crave and appreciate the freedom to travel, yes. But also to ask whether, in our restless pursuit of novelty for its own sake, maybe we’ve been doing this all wrong."


While the nature of international travel has changed, due to it having been so easy and relatively affordable to book a flight and go to far-flung places in modern times, I think that what we are looking at is something that is an innate part of human nature. Even when travelling to the other side of the planet wasn’t easy and took a long time, people did it. It may have taken months rather than hours to get from point A to point B, and it was fraught with danger and many might have died on the way, but there was some inner curiosity and sense of adventure, or perhaps simply looking for greener pastures that drove them to set out for the vast unknown.
Perhaps modern technology, i.e. the ability to “know” another place without actually having to physically go there, the knowledge that this is harming the planet, and the realization that such activity can lead to a deadly pandemic will quell this massive international tourism, but I do believe that the drive to physically experience other places and cultures is part of the human biological make-up.

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Travel yes, tourism however seems like a luxury to me but I haven’t studied it extensively from a historical view. I believe it will be a drop in bucket of time but hope not to be alive if I turn out to be correct.

Not to rub salt in a wound, but some of us are seeing huge interest in our airbnbs as they are located within a few hours of large cities. The roads in my town start clogging on Thursday pm and again at 9 am Sunday. I am seeing an unbelievable number of campers coming thru town. I am also seeing increased numbers of “camper” listings. I have even considered starting my own. “Try camping before you buy one” It could even be combined with an airbnb experience. Just thinking out of the box here. Short and long road trips may be the wave of the future for the next year or so, minimally, according to a lot of travel experts.

Ha, no wound here. My Airbnb is not a tourist destination. If I had remained open through the lockdown period I think I would have had a steady business and I’d be busy hosting people traveling through my town. But I wanted to err on the side of caution, I also committed to helping a friend who needed a quiet place to study for the bar exam and now I feel a little twinge since I’m actually having to live on my pension.

I’m truly happy for all the hosts here who are doing well. I hope everyone is saving up for the coming recession and if it doesn’t come they can splurge on something fun.

That will be right down my alley once I reopen.


Article from CNN about safe tourism posted

10:40 AM EDT June 22, 2020

The authors discussed safer practices but failed to mention the CDC recommendation of room empty for 24 hours between stays so germs could settle out of the air (greatest risk of infection is from breathing in the virus). They were close but only stated, “Avoid lodgings with same-day turnovers.“. Most people will not know what that is or why it is important.

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I had an interesting booking today, for JULY in Phoenix :sunny: :sun_with_face: :sweat: :hot_face: which highlights one reason why people may be choosing AirBNB’s over Hotels. A guest wound up cancelling his reservation at a nearby resort hotel, because of the new face mask requirements.

“I had a reservation at Andaz and just found out the county is enacting mandatory face masks in all public spaces. My girl and I would really just be using your place to turn off our brains, cook, read, swim and relax.

They told us that the order enacted this past Friday would require everyone to wear masks except for while inside the pool or putting food in my mouth. Your spot is a great alternative and I’m lucky it’s not booked yet. It is now! See you soon!“

I’ve always thought my listing’s competition were more the nearby resort hotels, rather than the AirBNB homes, and this has somewhat confirmed it.


Yes, we have just booked our 3rd lake house this Summer in locations we’ve never visited before (within 3-4 hours of Chicago). For the past 2 years, I’ve been going mostly to international resorts with my young kids (large pools, kids clubs, etc.) but we are definitely shifting to drivable private rentals for at least the next year or so. We canceled 3 trips since March that cost over 16k, not sure what we will do for Winter travel but without airfare, our private rental budget is higher than what I’d normally consider.

As an aside, most of the Air/VRBO listings are not indicating they are implementing a 24-48 hr “virus” gap between bookings. But unless the cleaners are wearing masks the entire time (and they weren’t wearing masks when we were checking out of the last rental) the gap doesn’t seem to mean much.

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Fortunately— well some days not so fortunately—the cleaners are me and my husband, and we do wear masks and gloves to clean, and even though 1 day may not be as good as a 3 day break between guests, STR is a business and cutting 3 days out of every week during our high season is business suicide. Interesting, but I have found very few listings in our town pledging the airbnb cleaning protocol. Its just too over the top…In the meantime, it has not seemed to slow down my bookings. Time will tell.

I do find their cleaning protocol over the top. I think as long as you take the virus seriously, stay informed about the latest scientific findings, and clean with common sense and thoroughly, listings are not going to pose any danger of infection. Instead of a cleaning protocol badge, I think there should be a warning on listings where the host thinks COVID is some media hype. Those are the listings I’d want to steer clear of.

I was reading a new study today about how badly covid contaminates surfaces in hospital rooms.

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