Who of us Nepalese is not proud, glad, honored, happy, having the highest peak of the world in our country ?
Who of us is not impressed and respectful with our SAGARMATHA, “ The Head in the Blue Sky”, “The peak of Heaven”?
Who of us hasn’t be stunned, shocked by the images on various social networks of mountain tourists, climbers from the whole world queuing to reach the summit ?
Some questions come naturally:
-Limits could be placed on the accessibility of certain unique sites?
-Mass tourism must be prevent from invading and therefore destroying precious places?
Everest is an emblematic example but there are many others in the world.
In Bhutan, you pay a rather high tax which is then used to protect the landscapes.
Maya Bay Beach in Thailand was closed for 4 years to allow nature to recover from the damage caused by what is called HYPERTOURISM or OVERTOURISM.
Similar situations are found in Paris for the Eiffel Tower, in Venice and its canals, in Rome for the Colosseum….. to name just a very few.
Is it right to limit the number of tourists ?
Visiting new places is fun and helps you learn about the world.
Furthermore, many economic activities depend on tourism.
Too many tourists can ruin the environment and annoy the local populations which is why some countries have decided to limit entry but there are also those who believe that similar measures are unfair to those who travel and those who earn a living from tourism.
Like many things, there are pros and cons.
Let’s try too see!
YES: BETTER TO SET LIMITS.
Effectively, after the great Covid crisis, tourism is a little out of control.
Tourism can displace large crowds, complicate the lives of local populations and prevent visitors from getting around easily and enjoying the trip.
Too many visitors produce more waste, put a strain on local services , can wear down historic sites and damage wildlife habitats.
In Egypt, a tourist carved his name on the 3.500-year-old Luxor Temple!!!
In Thailand, there have been water shortages caused by excessive consumption by visitors.
There are many destinations that don’t attract all these people but are just as beautiful and interesting. Limiting tourism in one place could bring benefits elsewhere.
NO: BETTER NOT TO SET LIMITS.
Many jobs depend on tourism. The tourism industry employs many people around the world.
Visiting other countries is a great way to relax and learn about cultures different from ours; so people should be free to go wherever they want.
It is not necessary to limit the number of tourists using taxes and bans.
In France, for example, the government plans to use social media to encourage people to visit less frequented areas.
Measures to limit tourism could make it less democratic. The entrance may be too expensive for some.
Let’s try to summarize the two positions:
Three reasons why we should not limit the number of tourists.
1) Those who work in the tourism sector could lose their jobs. This would damage entire areas that thrive on tourism.
2) Peoope should be free to travel wherever they want. It would be better not to ban but to encourage visiting unknown areas.
3) Imposing additional costs one those traveling for tourism could make the trip “ something for the rich”and this is not right.
Three reasons why we should limit the number of tourists .
1) Preventing overcrowding of places would make them more pleasant for both tourists and those who live there.
2) Damage to the environment and historic buildings could be avoided and better local services ensured .
3) Tourism generates a lot of money but it is not distributed equally. Limiting tourism in the most popular places would drive travelers to destinations that need them most.
And now ,dear reader, adding your personal experience ,you will have to make up your mind ….LIMIT or NO LIMITS…..
The debate is open …
Silwal is Langtang Goodwill Ambassador and advisor of Villiage Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal. He is tour/trek instructor and guide too.