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Tourism Australia staff caught spending $140k of taxpayers' money on personal travel

<p>Three Tourism Australia employees have been fired after spending $137,441 of taxpayers' money for personal travel expenses, with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) called in to investigate.  </p> <p>Tourism Australia is the government agency in charge of promoting Australia's tourism industry abroad. </p> <p>Tourism Australia chief executive Phillipa Harrison appeared before a Senate committee in Canberra on Tuesday and confirmed the breach of the agency’s travel policy. </p> <p>The spending  had been uncovered in October 2023 when the agency's own staff detected the misuse of funds and “immediately reported and escalated” it. </p> <p>“The three employees undertook personal travel that was booked through Tourism Australia’s corporate travel agent and was invoiced to Tourism Australia,” she told the committee. </p> <p>“Tourism Australia demanded that the three individuals repay the full amount of this travel.”</p> <p>She added that the full amount was repaid to Tourism Australia last December, and the three employees have since been sacked. </p> <p>Harrison also said that Deloitte was hired to do an extensive audit dating back to 2021 “to ensure that we understood the full extent of the issue” but “no further instances of wrongdoing were identified”.</p> <p>“Off the back of the audit I have overseen a strengthening of our travel policy processes to ensure the conduct cannot be repeated,” she said.</p> <p>Tourism Australia have referred the matter to the NACC and are awaiting a response. </p> <p>When asked by New South Wales Nationals senator Ross Cadell about the identities of the staff and whether the agency's chief financial officer was among those involved, she replied: "The NACC has advised me that I'm unable to provide the further details on the roles and the people involved until they have finished their investigations." </p> <p>"To do so may compromise current or potential investigations, and prematurely impact the reputations of individuals in circumstances where the legislation enacted by parliament intends to avoid that by requiring that investigations, generally, be conducted in private and that information concerning them is not to be disclosed."</p> <p>She took a question on notice about how many trips were booked by the staff and the destinations for the travel. </p> <p>Her refusal to answer the questions caught the senator off-guard and he said: “I am shooketh, shaken, by not being able to ask these questions,” before calling a short suspension to discuss the concerns. </p> <p>On return, she officially claimed “public interest immunity” and was told she had to outline the situation in writing. </p> <p>"I have to say, this is the first time in my experience where a direction from the NACC has directed an official not to make a public statement," Tourism and Trade Minister Don Farrell said. </p> <p>"This does present some significant issues which I myself would like to get clarified.</p> <p>"You and I both voted for this legislation and obviously this is how it's being applied. The witness, obviously, has to comply with the direction of the NACC, she has no choice."</p> <p>The matter has not been referred to authorities. </p> <p><em>Image: Tourism Australia/ news.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tourist's shocking behaviour sparks fury

<p>Locals were left fuming after a picture of a tourist wearing next to nothing while shopping down a busy street went viral in Palma, Mallorca. </p> <p>The man confidently made his way through the sunny city centre in nothing but a pair of Speedos and shoes, surrounded by others who were fully dressed. </p> <p>“Please arrest these near naked people,” one woman wrote.</p> <p>“Or the shirtless, near nude, bikini wearing morons who wander around markets, towns and shops. Ukkk! Quality tourism can’t come soon enough!" she added. </p> <p>“Another moron that should be banned from the island," another commented. </p> <p>“If the government/police were serious, they could slowly improve Mallorca by banning all these types of idiots.”</p> <p>Another local added that tourists would not behave like this at home and that his behaviour displayed a “lack of respect” typical of many tourists.</p> <p>Others were confused about where the holidaymaker was keeping his wallet as it seemed like he only held on to his phone and a red garment. </p> <p>One local even asked why he wasn't arrested, and someone replied:  “Mallorca has some great laws in place. Unfortunately, nobody seems to enforce them.”</p> <p>It is illegal to only wear a bikini or swimming shorts in some public parts of Spain – including the Balearic Islands.</p> <p>Tourists can cop a fine of up to $1000 for wearing swimwear or going shirtless anywhere but the beach. </p> <p>The incident comes after weeks of furious anti-tourist protests, with residents in the Tenerife saying they are “fed-up” of “low quality” Brit tourists who only come for the cheap beer, burgers and sunbathing. </p> <p><em>Image:  Majorca Daily Bulletin</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Why this iconic view of Mt Fuji is set to be obstructed

<p>One small town in Japan is fed up with disrespectful tourists, and is set to take drastic measures to block an iconic view of My Fuji to deter travellers. </p> <p>Fujikawaguchiko, at the foot of the Yoshida Trail to Mount Fuji, has long been overrun with tourists who are hellbent on getting the perfect picture of the Japanese mountain. </p> <p>Tourists specifically flock to the Lawson convenience store to take their pictures, with the contrast between the busy neon-lit shop and the peaceful mountain behind it making for the perfect holiday snap. </p> <p>However, in recent years since Japan reopened its borders to international tourists after harsh Covid lockdowns, these tourists have had the run of the town, and locals have had enough. </p> <p>To combat the over tourism of the area and deter travellers, local officials of the town are set to erect a giant mesh barrier atop the store, blocking the picture perfect view.</p> <p>One town official said that there have been ongoing problems with tourists leaving trash and not following traffic rules, despite signs and security guards being posted to warn them.</p> <p>"It is regrettable that we had to take such measures," the official said.</p> <p>The net, which measures 2.5 meters high and 20 meters long, will be erected early next week.</p> <p>The crowds plaguing the small town, which is in Yamanashi prefecture, to the north of Fuji and about 100 kilometres west of Tokyo, is just one part of a larger over tourism issue in the whole of Japan. </p> <p>"Overtourism – and all the subsequent consequences like rubbish, rising CO2 emissions and reckless hikers – is the biggest problem facing Mount Fuji," Masatake Izumi, a Yamanashi prefectural government official, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/travel/mount-fuji-overtourism-intl-hnk/index.html">told CNN Travel</a> in 2023.</p> <p>Some locals had even nicknamed the 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) mountain, called Fuji-san in Japanese, "trash mountain."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

International Travel

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Does hosting the Olympics, the World Cup or other major sports events really pay off?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</a></em></p> <p>After a long battle, <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20240213-paris-booksellers-stay-olympics-macron-bouquiniste-france">Paris’s beloved <em>bouquinistes</em> will be staying put</a> this summer. The decision, announced on 13 February by the French government, came after considerable public backlash to the police prefecture’s original plan to move part of the iconic Seine booksellers elsewhere for the inauguration of the Olympics Games on 26 July.</p> <p>Meanwhile, less than six months away from the event, Parisians continue to grumble over a <a href="https://www.ouest-france.fr/jeux-olympiques/cest-aberrant-ce-maire-vient-dapprendre-que-sa-ville-accueillera-les-jeux-de-paris-ab1fa968-cfd1-11ee-89c0-6cefac77e04a">lack of consultations</a> with locals, warnings of <a href="https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20231130-paris-vehicle-traffic-to-be-heavily-restricted-during-2024-olympic-games">gridlocked traffic</a>, closed metro stations, extensive video surveillance and other grievances. So for host countries, what was the point of the Olympics, again?</p> <p>In academia, the debate about the potential positive and negative effects of large-scale sporting events is ongoing. Although these events are often associated with substantial economic losses, the long-term benefits are the main argument in favour of hosting them. These include the development of material and soft infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants or parks. Big games can also help put the host region on the map as an attractive place for sports and cultural events, and inspire a better entrepreneurial climate.</p> <h2>The pros and the cons of big sporting events?</h2> <p>The cost of these benefits, as the Parisians have realised, is steep. Host countries appear to suffer from increased tax burdens, low returns on public investments, high construction costs, and onerous running cost of facilities after the event. Communities can also be blighted by noise, pollution, and damage to the environment, while increased criminal activity and potential conflicts between locals and visitors can take a toll on their quality of life. As a result, in the recent past several major cities, including Rome and Hamburg, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/6-cities-that-rejected-the-olympics/a-46289852">withdrew their bids to host the games</a>.</p> <p>A common feature of the economics of large-scale sporting events is that our expectations of them are more optimistic than what we make of them once they have taken place. Typically, expenditure tends to tip over the original budget, while the revenue-side indicators (such as the number of visitors) are rarely achieved.</p> <p>When analysing the effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist visits, it is important to take into consideration both the positive and negative components of the overall effect. While positive effects may be associated with visitors, negative effects may arise when “regular” tourists refuse to visit the location due to the event. This might be because of overloaded infrastructure, sharp increases in accommodation costs, and inconveniences associated with overcrowding or raucous or/and violent visitors. On top of that, reports of poverty or crime in the global media can actually undermine the location’s attractiveness.</p> <h2>When big sporting events crowd out regular tourists</h2> <p>In an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002523120639">article published in the <em>Journal of Sports Economics</em></a> with Igor Drapkin and Ilya Zverev, I assess the effects of hosting large-scale sporting events, such as Winter and Summer Olympics plus FIFA World Cups, on international tourist visits. We utilise a comprehensive dataset on flow of tourists covering the world’s largest destination and origin countries between 1995 and 2019. As a first step, we built an econometric model that effectively predicts the flow of tourists between any pair of countries in our data. Subsequently we compared the predicted tourist inflow in a hypothetical scenario where no large-scale sporting event would have taken place with the actual figures. If the actual figures exceed the predicted ones, we consider the event to have a net positive impact. Otherwise, we consider that it had a “crowding out” effect on “regular” tourists. While conducting this analysis, we distinguished between short-term (i.e., focusing just on the year of the event) and mid-term (year of the event plus three subsequent years).</p> <p>Our results show that the effects of large-scale sporting events vary a lot across host countries: The World Cup in Japan and South Korea 2002 and South Africa 2010 were associated with a distinct increase in tourist arrivals, whereas all other World Cups were either neutral or negative. Among the Summer Olympics, China in 2008 is the only case with a significant positive effect on tourist inflows. The effects of the other four events (Australia 2000, Greece 2004, Great Britain 2012, and Brazil 2016) were found to be negative in the short- and medium-term. As for the Winter Olympics, the only positive case is Russia in 2014. The remaining five events had a negative impact except the one-year neutral effect for Japan 1998.</p> <p>Following large-scale sporting events, host countries are therefore typically less visited by tourists. Out of the 18 hosting countries studied, 11 saw tourist numbers decline over four years, and three did not experience a significant change.</p> <h2>The case for cautious optimism</h2> <p>Our research indicates that the positive effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist inflows is, at best, moderate. While many tourists are attracted by FIFA World Cups and Olympic games, the crowding-out effect of “regular” tourists is strong and often underestimated. This implies that tourists visiting for an event like the Olympics typically dissuade those who would have come for other reasons. Thus, efforts to attract new visitors should be accompanied by efforts to retain the already existing ones.</p> <p>Large-scale sporting events should be considered as part of a long-term policy for promoting a territory to tourists rather than a standalone solution. Revealingly, our results indicate that it is easier to get a net increase in tourist inflows in countries that are less frequent destinations for tourists – for example, those in Asia or Africa. By contrast, the United States and Europe, both of which are traditionally popular with tourists, have no single case of a net positive effect. Put differently, the large-scale sporting events in Asia and Africa helped promote their host countries as tourist destinations, making the case for the initial investment. In the US and Europe, however, those in the last few decades brought little return, at least in terms of tourist inflow.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/222118/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, Associate professor of quantitative analytics, research fellow at ICTA-UAB, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-hosting-the-olympics-the-world-cup-or-other-major-sports-events-really-pay-off-222118">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Tips

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Tourist slapped with $225k bill after simple mistake

<p>An American tourist has revealed the moment he was charged with a $US143k (AU$225k) bill after a short holiday to Switzerland. </p> <p>Rene Remund and his wife Linda went on the trip last September.</p> <p>Prior to their travels, Remund made sure to inform his mobile phone provider, T-Mobile, that he was going overseas and as a customer of 30 years, he was told he was “covered”.</p> <p>So, with no worries at all, the tourist shared photos of his moments in the Swiss countryside with friends and family via photo messages. </p> <p>Imagine his surprise when he came home to a six-figure bill, after he racked up thousands and thousands of dollars in daily roaming costs. </p> <p>“I get this T-Mobile bill and it doesn’t bother me very much because I was reading $143,” he explained, adding it wasn’t until he went to pay the bill that he realised a few more zeros were involved.</p> <p>“I look at the bill and I say, ‘excuse me’,” he said.</p> <p>“$143,000 … are you guys crazy?”</p> <p>According to the bill, Remund had racked up 9.5 gigabytes of data while in Europe, which cost him thousands of dollars each day. While it wasn't a huge amount of data, not being covered by roaming fees will cause a user to run up a huge bill very quickly. </p> <p>“I called [T-Mobile] and the girl put me on hold for a while,” he explained.</p> <p>“She said let me check this out and I’ll get back to you. She gets back and says, yeah this is a good bill.</p> <p>“I said, ‘what do you mean it’s a good bill?’ And she says ‘well, this is what you owe’.</p> <p>“I said ‘you’re kidding me … you’re crazy’.”</p> <p>After confirming that his bill was in fact  AU$225,000, Remund hired a lawyer to argue the fact that he was covered for international roaming. </p> <p>His lawyer issued a letter to the president of T-Mobile, and they only received a reply a few days ago. </p> <p>The letter from T-Mobile allegedly said that the service provider was “sorry” for the charges, and that Remund would receive a “credit” to eliminate the entire bill. </p> <p>In an email shared to local media <em>Scripps News Tampa</em>, the mobile phone provider said that customers should always “check the travel features of their plan, such as international data roaming, before departing”.</p> <p>“If a customer is on an older plan that doesn’t include international roaming for data and calling, they’ll need to make sure they’re using aeroplane mode and wi-fi when using data to be certain the device doesn’t connect to an international network.”</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: ABC Action News</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Elephant tourism often involves cruelty – here are steps toward more humane, animal-friendly excursions

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-szydlowski-1495781">Michelle Szydlowski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/miami-university-1934">Miami University</a></em></p> <p>Suju Kali is a 50-year-old elephant in Nepal who has been carrying tourists for over 30 years. Like many elephants I encounter through my <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2022.2028628">research</a>, Suju Kali exhibits anxiety and can be aggressive toward strangers. She suffers from emotional trauma as a result of prolonged, commercial human contact.</p> <p>Like Suju Kali, many animals are trapped within the tourism industry. Some venues have no oversight and little concern for animal or tourist safety. Between 120,000 and 340,000 animals are used globally in a variety of wildlife tourism attractions, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138939">endangered species</a> like elephants. Over a quarter of the world’s <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/7140/45818198">endangered elephants</a> reside in captivity with little oversight.</p> <p>Wildlife tourism – which involves viewing wildlife such as primates or birds in conservation areas, feeding or touching captive or “rehabilitated” wildlife in facilities, and bathing or riding animals like elephants – is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14724049.2022.2156523">tricky business</a>. I know this because I am <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=YbweA2MAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">a researcher studying human relationships with elephants</a> in both tourism and conservation settings within Southeast Asia.</p> <p>These types of experiences have long been an <a href="https://kathmandupost.com/money/2021/06/17/tourism-is-nepal-s-fourth-largest-industry-by-employment-study">extremely popular and profitable</a> part of the <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002074">tourism market</a>. But now, many travel-related organizations are urging people not to participate in, or <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2018/04/27/animal-welfare-travelers-how-enjoy-wildlife-without-harming/544938002/">calling for an outright ban on, interactive wildlife experiences</a>.</p> <p>Tourism vendors have started marketing more “ethical options” for consumers. Some are attempting to truly improve the health and welfare of wildlife, and some are transitioning captive wildlife into touch-free, non-riding or lower-stress environments. In other places, organizations are attempting to <a href="https://www.fao.org/documents/card/es/c/b2c5dad0-b9b9-5a3d-a720-20bf3b9f0dc2/">implement standards of care</a> or create manuals that outline good practices for animal husbandry.</p> <p>This marketing, academics argue, is often simply “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2017.11.007">greenwashing</a>,” <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2023.2280704">applying marketing labels to make consumers feel better</a> about their choices without making any real changes. Worse, research shows that some programs marketing themselves as ethical tourism may instead be widening economic gaps and harming both humans and other species that they are meant to protect.</p> <h2>No quick fix</h2> <p>For example, rather than tourist dollars trickling down to local struggling families as intended by local governments, many tourism venues are owned by nonresidents, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/japfcsc.v2i1.26746">meaning the profits do not stay in the area</a>. Likewise, only a small number of residents can afford to own tourism venues, and venues do not provide employment for locals from lower income groups.</p> <p>This economic gap is especially obvious in Nepalese elephant stables: Venue owners continue to make money off elephants, while elephant caregivers continue to work 17 hours a day for about US$21 a month; tourists are led to believe they are “<a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/book/10.1079/9781800624498.0000">promoting sustainability</a>.”</p> <p>Yet, there are no easy answers, especially for elephants working in tourism. Moving them to sanctuaries is difficult because with no governmental or global welfare oversight, elephants may end up in worse conditions.</p> <p>Many kindhearted souls who want to “help” elephants know little about their biology and mental health needs, or what it takes to keep them healthy. Also, feeding large animals like Suju Kali is pricey, <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010171">costing around $19,000 yearly</a>. So without profits from riding or other income, owners – or would-be rescuers – can’t maintain elephants. Releasing captive elephants to the jungle is not a choice – many have never learned to live in the wild, so they cannot survive on their own.</p> <h2>Hurting local people</h2> <p>Part of the problem lies with governments, as many have marketed tourism as a way to fund conservation projects. For example in Nepal, a percentage of ticket sales from elephant rides are given to community groups to use for forest preservation and support for local families.</p> <p>Increasing demand for <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Tourism-and-Animal-Ethics/Fennell/p/book/9781032431826">wildlife-based tourism</a> may increase traffic in the area and thus put pressure on local governments to further limit local people’s access to forest resources.</p> <p>This may also lead to <a href="https://www.worldanimalprotection.org/latest/news/un-world-tourism-organisation-urged-create-better-future-animals/">increased demands on local communities</a>, as was the case in Nepal. In the 1970s, the Nepalese government removed local people from their lands in what is now Chitwan National Park as part of increasing “conservation efforts” and changed the protected area’s boundaries. Indigenous “Tharu,” or people of the forest, were forced to abandon their villages and land. While some were offered access to “buffer zones” in the 1990s, many remain poor and landless today.</p> <p>In addition, more and more desirable land surrounding conservation areas in Nepal is being developed for tourist-based businesses such as hotels, restaurants and shops, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/japfcsc.v2i1.26746">pushing local poor people farther away</a> from central village areas and the associated tourism income.</p> <p>Some activists would like humans to simply release all wildlife back into the wild, but <a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/book/10.1079/9781800624498.0000">there are multiple issues</a> with that. Elephant habitats throughout Southeast Asia have been transformed into croplands, cities or train tracks for human use. Other problems arise from the fact that tourism elephants have <a href="https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315457413">never learned</a> how to be elephants in their natural elements, as they were <a href="https://www.pugetsound.edu/sites/default/files/file/8342_Journal%20of%20Tourism%20%282009%29_0.pdf">separated from their herds</a> at an early age.</p> <p>So tourism may be vital to providing food, care and shelter to captive elephants for the rest of their lives and providing jobs for those who really need them. Because elephants can live beyond 60 years, this can be a large commitment.</p> <h2>How to be an ethical tourist</h2> <p>To protect elephants, tourists should check out reviews and photos from any venue they want to visit, and look for clues that animal welfare might be impacted, such as tourists allowed to feed, hold or ride captive wildlife animals. Look for healthy animals, which means doing research on what “healthy” animals of that species should look like.</p> <p>If a venue lists no-touch demonstrations – “unnatural” behaviors that don’t mimic what an elephant might do of their own accord, such as sitting on a ball or riding a bike, or other performances – remember that the behind-the-scenes training used to achieve these behaviors can be <a href="https://doi.org/10.21832/9781845415051-014">violent, traumatic or coercive</a>.</p> <p>Another way to help people and elephant is to to use small, local companies to book your adventures in your area of interest, rather than paying large, international tourism agencies. Look for locally owned hotels, and wait to book excursions until you arrive so you can use local service providers. Book homestay programs and attend cultural events led by community members; talk to tourists and locals you meet in the target town to get their opinions, and use local guides who provide wildlife viewing opportunities <a href="https://nepaldynamicecotours.com/">while maintaining distance from animals</a>.</p> <p>Or tourists can ask to visit <a href="https://www.americanhumane.org/press-release/global-humane-launches-humane-tourism-certification-program/">venues that are certified</a> by international humane animal organizations and that <a href="https://www.su4e.org/">do not allow contact</a> with wildlife. Or they can opt for guided hikes, canoe or kayak experiences, and other environmentally friendly options.</p> <p>While these suggestions will not guarantee that your excursion is animal-friendly, they will help decrease your impact on wildlife, support local families and encourage venues to stop using elephants as entertainment. Those are good first steps.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219792/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-szydlowski-1495781">Michelle Szydlowski</a>, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Project Dragonfly, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/miami-university-1934">Miami University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/elephant-tourism-often-involves-cruelty-here-are-steps-toward-more-humane-animal-friendly-excursions-219792">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Tips

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Survey unveils Aussies thoughts on tourism tax

<p>Earlier this year, Bali launched a controversial tourism tax, which meant that every traveller entering the island would have to pay a $15 fee, which the Indonesian province have said will be used for environmental and cultural projects. </p> <p>Now, Aussies have shared their thoughts on introducing a similar system here, and survey results have revealed that many are keen for the tourism tax to be introduced here. </p> <p>Travel provider InsureandGo conducted the survey and found that 60 per cent of Australians would support the government introducing a tax to combat the rising environmental toll of tourism.</p> <p>"Tourist taxes are a relatively new concept, but as travel demand swells, we are seeing more countries adopt the levy," InsureandGo Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Etkind said. </p> <p>"What's heartening is that only a minority of 37 per cent of respondents don't support tourism taxes, demonstrating just how many Australians support the concept of sustainable travel."</p> <p>The response comes amid increased sustainability concerns on our flora and fauna, which are being threatened by over-tourism. </p> <p>The tax is particularly supported by younger Aussies aged between 18 to 30, with 73 per cent of them saying yes to tourism taxes. </p> <p>Etkind said that this may be because younger Aussies are typically more aware of the environmental impacts of travel compared to the older generation, who may be less accustomed to the tax. </p> <p>Along with Bali, other cities and countries have started introducing similar fees to combat overtourism,  with Venice set to charge day-trippers a fee of 5 Euros ($8.20) per visit. </p> <p>Amsterdam, Netherlands has the highest tourism tax in Europe, with the former 7 per cent hotel tourist levy rising to 12.5 per cent this year. </p> <p>New Zealand also charges international visitors excluding Aussie citizens and permanent residents $25 levy ($32.64 AUD) to address the challenges created by tourism in its conservation areas. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

International Travel

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Selfies and social media: how tourists indulge their influencer fantasies

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-canavan-228682">Brendan Canavan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-nottingham-1192">University of Nottingham</a></em></p> <p>A town in the US state of Vermont <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/vermont-town-banning-influencers-tourists-visiting-fall-foliage-rcna117413">closed its roads to tourists</a> in September 2023 after a social media tag sparked a swarm of visitors that overwhelmed the rural destination.</p> <p>Videos on TikTok were seen by thousands and the hashtag #sleepyhollowfarm went viral, prompting a tourist rush to the pretty New England town of Pomfret, where visitors tried to take photos of themselves against the countryside backdrop. The town, famous for its fall foliage, criticised this as problematic and “influencer tourism”, part of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738320300426">a travel trend</a> where a social media phenomenon can spark an overwhelming and unexpected rise in visitor numbers.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0002764292036002005?casa_token=gQo4-8jeYdIAAAAA:Oq3Nf5gTtAFK7N00D1NgPO7_zl9ONlOEnzFZnojX6fX1nKXQWJZ4ERn52MlV3abn4fDN4_C4hJjq">Traditionally</a>, we think of tourists as travelling to gain new experiences. They look at sites, take photographs and collect souvenirs. However, this relationship between the tourist and touring is changing.</p> <p>Driven by <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/how-instagram-changed-the-tourism-industry/a-65348690">24-hour access to social media</a>, some tourists now travel primarily to have an experience that <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/travel/discover/get-inspired/Global-Travel-Trends">looks good online</a>. Around 75% of people in a recent American Express survey said they had been inspired to visit somewhere by social media. Some tourists may be prompted to choose a destination by seeing a <a href="https://www.elle.com/culture/travel-food/a27561982/best-instagram-spots/">backdrop that is popular on social media or on television</a>, in order to create a high-status photo.</p> <p>The expansion of social media and ubiquity of smartphone cameras has had a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/13/7312">major impact on tourists’ behaviour</a>. This has also led to what’s been called a <a href="https://www.traveldailynews.com/column/articles/who-are-the-selfie-gaze-tourists/">selfie “tourist gaze”</a>, creating photos where the traveller is at the forefront of images rather than the destination.</p> <p>Indeed, according to my research, increasingly, some tourists go somewhere <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738320300426">to be spotted</a> – to be observed by others both online and in person at these destinations.</p> <h2>Looking for drama</h2> <p>Studies have highlighted how tourists <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517715300388?casa_token=W51WkDKJSK8AAAAA:DG99dEWkyYKWIe6hNcLXR4KRApXV24QksHIzrRNcjVY3FngukDgIv9HLHG4o3NV4rqNJtdet">head for</a> particularly dramatic or luxurious destinations because of their social media links. Dubai, for example, with its bling culture and high-end shopping, has become a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/17/in-this-world-social-media-is-everything-how-dubai-became-the-planets-influencer-capital">playground for influencers</a> looking for a luxury backdrop to add to their celebrity-style image.</p> <p>Some tourists aim to photograph themselves in prestigious locations, rather than taking shots of their <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/13567667221113079?casa_token=xbdUjWECQvMAAAAA:mc4rqleOqgjazW9DAYduW7LaPTu4KEw1DIfbPbWF0vl0efwNPC_GQ0U-HjltguwsIsCoO4ycXgyW7Q">travel surroundings</a>. Others choose to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738320300426">act like mini-celebrities</a> and perform for the camera, expecting and wanting to be looked at by those they encounter – or even narrating their participation in extreme events.</p> <p>One of these is the <a href="https://www.theadventurists.com/rickshaw-run/">Rickshaw Run</a>, a 2,000km race across India. This adventure tourism event encourages participants to dress up, act eccentrically and get noticed. Driving tuk-tuks around India, from Kerala to Darjeeling, vehicles are personalised with eye-catching designs. Many participants film themselves and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p3wd0ii2oQ">upload the results</a> to social media, and the events tend to create a significant following. For instance, this YouTube video series created by Rickshaw Run participants drew 3.6m subscribers:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2p3wd0ii2oQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Taking part in the Rickshaw Run.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>However, some of these tourist “performances” can cause controversy. For instance, <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/mexico-tourist-beaten-with-stick-for-climbing-chichen-itza-pyramid/EL5KGLB4CNC5ZONNZCKAMX3LLE/">climbing over</a> fragile archaeological sites in search of social media content might damage them. <a href="https://www.unilad.com/news/russian-tourist-deported-nude-photo-bali-064402-20230330">Posing for laughs</a> in areas considered sacred can offend. The reducing of cultures to <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/selfie-tourists-get-up-easter-islanders-noses-sgfxdtkj7">backdrops for social media content</a> can suggest a lack of interest in or respect for hosts by tourists.</p> <p>My research points to a growth in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669582.2016.1263309">narcissism in society</a>, and connects this with what tourists desire from travel and how they act when travelling. This may be reflected in increased sense of entitlement and exhibitionism by tourists who aim to take photos in more difficult to reach locations or off-limit areas, for instance.</p> <p>Selfie culture arguably promotes <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09528822.2015.1082339?casa_token=tbsXw1drBAEAAAAA:qfSfJBbHWi3x8MSVeoyHBIceP7W_8C55rVctylf-2zRBzx-aG_EeFwvTmHHsOdjQpMd8LVaUrjSo">self-involvement rather than social responsibility</a>. It is well established that tourists <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1368350050408668198?casa_token=K4p5aZCN8t4AAAAA:96p7f3qNu2WndpE-C-D0rs5mJaOlnJ5F6P4iXQlWQopseMGWuJ_5TiaFmRggxFsEjrMCoAr14Kn4">can be selfish</a>, putting their own comfort and entertainment ahead of concerns about local issues. This is especially true of the super-rich. Private jet users <a href="https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/private-jets-can-the-super-rich-supercharge-zero-emission-aviation/">are responsible for</a> half of global aviation emissions.</p> <p>However, the desire to promote the individual and their values could be <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669582.2016.1263309">harnessed to promote</a> more sustainable tourism. Those volunteering abroad might be motivated by the image enhancement opportunities of doing good, but they often offer something back to the social and natural environments of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669580903395030?casa_token=NvJorz8d1F4AAAAA:AXXTdW7ePimqFkWNg1W5w8umGCBwXIjus0WICRIoNZH_gsdr1hHomvMAQV21PYA2HkLwBGsO_Qus8g">their host destinations</a> in the process.</p> <p>There are signs that there’s another tourism trend, with travellers looking for deep and meaningful experiences, and ecotourism could help provide those. The act of travelling in a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2020.1825458">more environmentally friendly way</a> could also be seen as a way to show off, and still provide selfie material.</p> <p>The environmental pros and cons of tourist self-obsession might be <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09669582.2016.1263309">debatable</a>. However, self-fixation is arguably not good for tourists themselves. For example, the desire to “perform” on camera could affect people’s mental health, according to one <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10253866.2018.1467318?casa_token=wI7sETKEKJAAAAAA:ebds6fykbyHAGSXIk9iv6-tyziFSIvganp32S65hiX8KeWlaQDwhPxF_2tWEgkNqssqd-SCE-w_3Eg">study</a>.</p> <p>Research has shown that <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616688.2012.762691?casa_token=Jb9SzAGXBD0AAAAA:L5Q-HhPs9jWtfm0Zq4nB0uFHrZ3W8N7o1Liq0KAIRqC4ivEhKyEexEZN-ACoz1qzm7CMqD96zXOm">unexpected encounters help tourists to gain self-insight</a>. In addition, getting out of your comfort zone can lead to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213078020300074?casa_token=MkMbkdyr_cMAAAAA:LLu44kUbbsP5e-iW-kDdI7iSEo3WkLgH5IvKqb2txZA504q74J4OAhTuXIx8m90oDMSvuiq4Mg">rewarding personal growth</a>.</p> <h2>A disconnect between self and place</h2> <p>Taking yet more selfies could cut people off from their surroundings. In doing so, they could be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016073831730097X?casa_token=tOaqrhfVQ-wAAAAA:uxb7djQMWjifvjjgPMZzbq2IQqlgoaGHzWoJkkGbQYQqkbZoeuOqLD91zqwBuWs1SfY7dcK4">less present in the travel experience itself</a>. Indeed, the <a href="https://english.elpais.com/usa/2021-10-29/rise-of-selfie-deaths-leads-experts-to-talk-about-a-public-health-problem.html">growing number</a> of <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/15/asia/french-man-selfie-death-intl-scli/index.html">selfie-related tourist deaths</a> might attest to a disconnect between self and place. A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131996/#:%7E:text=selfie-related%20deaths.-,From%20October%202011%20to%20November%202017%2C%20there%20have%20been%20259,respectively%2C%20in%202016%20and%202017">2018 report</a> estimated 259 deaths to have occurred while taking selfies between 2011-2017.</p> <p>Other research suggests that individuals who are motivated by the desire to present a particular online image may be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211973620301458?casa_token=-HkTUB7WC7cAAAAA:455BE0L2jP-CL1nD18__Ey3fj5GsLmYfKL_EB_P7IWa7lDddpJYIW3UIo5fUjg68e7Nvm7PUlTA#s0050">more likely to take risks</a> with their travel selfies, with potentially fatal consequences.</p> <p>Tourists have always been somewhat self-obsessed. The 18th-century <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160738385900027">Grand Tour</a>, a leisurely trip around Europe, allowed the wealthy to <a href="https://www.historyhit.com/what-was-the-grand-tour/">indulge themselves</a> in <a href="https://www.salon.com/2002/05/31/sultry/">ways</a> that might not have been socially acceptable back home. And at the beginning of the 21st century, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738301000305?casa_token=C5eb2NJQvGsAAAAA:YrdY-xjJwBrUE9RjwyOJ3kRBS4-o7e5Jni5sluTCuZOrgnCULybO8EgJtQqsuSL7B5nZJwiH3Q#BIB37">academics worried about</a> self-involved backpacker communities in southeast Asia having little interest in mixing with local people.</p> <p>What is different about smartphones and social media is that these allow some tourists to present such self-indulgent, and sometimes insensitive, tourism traits immediately. Wifi and mobile data mean that these tourists can travel with one eye on finding the perfect selfie backdrop – filtering and sharing their travel as it happens, responding to likes and comments.</p> <p>For better or worse, living this influencer fantasy may have become an integral part of tourism for some time.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214681/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-canavan-228682"><em>Brendan Canavan</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-nottingham-1192">University of Nottingham</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/selfies-and-social-media-how-tourists-indulge-their-influencer-fantasies-214681">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Everything you need to know before you travel to Vietnam

<p dir="ltr">So you’ve booked your flight to Vietnam to experience the best of south-east Asia. </p> <p dir="ltr">When travelling to Vietnam, and other Asian countries, there are a handful of tips and tricks to be aware of to ensure you have a smooth sailing travel experience. </p> <p dir="ltr">In comparison to travelling around Western countries, exploring Vietnam comes with a unique set of circumstances, and being prepared for every situation will make sure your trip is one to remember. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Cash is king</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to planning your trip to Vietnam, other than booking your flights, hotels and travel insurance, one of your first priorities should be getting your hands on cash. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Vietnamese Dong is a unique currency to get used to, given that $5 AUD is equal to approximately $82,000 VND. </p> <p dir="ltr">Most of the restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions you’ll be heading to will only accept cash, so make sure you seek out an ATM (most ATMs will let you translate to English) and always have a decent amount of cash on hand. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Go off the beaten track </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Vietnam has so much more to offer than the major cities. </p> <p dir="ltr">While Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have a lot of interesting history, tourist attractions and unique cultural experiences, staying in these cities for the entirety of your Vietnam trip is limiting. </p> <p dir="ltr">Make sure you explore coastal towns such as Hoi An, Hue and Phu Quoc, explore the rolling rice fields of Sapa, and don’t forget to book your cruise around the picturesque Ha Long Bay. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Don't be afraid of the food </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Vietnamese food is maybe not what you’re used to eating everyday, part of experiencing a different culture is immersing yourself in the food scene. </p> <p dir="ltr">One of the best things you can do when you arrive at your destination is to book a food tour with a local guide (there are many available through TripAdvisor), to take you around and show you a variety of dishes to become accustomed to. </p> <p dir="ltr">Your food tour guide will also help ease your anxiety over ordering food in different places. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another top tip: Restaurants will often be called the name of the dishes they serve. For example, places that sell the delicious Bahn Mi bread rolls will have “Bahn Mi” in their name. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Google Translate is your friend </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While your hotel staff will often speak good English, other vendors at restaurants or markets may not be as fluent. </p> <p dir="ltr">Downloading the Google Translate app on your phone will allow you to communicate with locals quickly and easily, by typing in what you want to say in English, and letting the app read out the sentence in Vietnamese. </p> <p dir="ltr">Also, the app’s camera feature lets you hover your smartphone camera over something written in Vietnamese, before translating it into English in seconds. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Beware of scams</strong> </p> <p dir="ltr">One of the most common scams in Vietnam is taxi scams. Some people will claim to be a taxi and then jack up the prices once they take you to your destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">To avoid this, only get in registered taxis (that actually look like taxis and not just a random car), and download Grab, which is the Vietnamese version of Uber and is just as easy to use. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another common scam is for market vendors to hike up prices for food and souvenirs, so be ready to barter for a better price. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Make friends with the locals </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Vietnamese people are some of the loveliest, kindest and most accommodating in the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">People on the street, hotel staff and restaurant workers are always happy to help you with queries or concerns, so make the most of their local knowledge and don’t be afraid to approach people with a smile. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

International Travel

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Does British tourism really need the royal family?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ross-bennett-cook-1301368">Ross Bennett-Cook</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-westminster-916">University of Westminster</a></em></p> <p>Love them or loathe them, the royal family are up there with red telephone boxes and scones when it comes to images of Britishness. Souvenir shops are full of their faces, newspapers across the world discuss them, and <a href="https://www.euronews.com/culture/2022/09/13/netflixs-the-crown-skyrockets-in-popularity-following-the-queens-death">television dramas</a> based on their lives have never been more popular.</p> <p>Whenever people are critical of the royal family, the oft-repeated retort is “but think of the tourism!”. This has been particularly common rhetoric recently, as <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/royal-family/who-paid-for-coronation-b2334669.html">many people question</a> how a country facing mass strikes and a crippling cost of living crisis can afford the estimated <a href="https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/explained/how-much-king-charles-iii-coronation-cost-who-pays-for-it/">£100 million</a> cost of King Charles III’s coronation.</p> <p>In a recent <a href="https://yougov.co.uk/topics/arts/survey-results/daily/2023/04/18/25178/3">YouGov poll</a>, 51% did not believe the coronation should be paid for by taxpayers. For young people, this figure was even higher, at 62%. But supporters will often use <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/charles-iii-ap-coronation-buckingham-palace-elizabeth-ii-b2326220.html">tourism</a> as justification for lavish expenses.</p> <p>The royal family does bring tourism to the UK. The economic consultancy Centre for Economics and Business Research <a href="https://cebr.com/reports/uk-economy-raises-a-glass-to-337-million-coronation-boost-from-tourism-and-pub-activity/">estimated</a> that the coronation weekend would lead to a £337 million boost from tourism and pub spending.</p> <p>But if the royal family were to disappear, would the UK’s tourism industry suddenly implode?</p> <p>2011 research by <a href="https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20140722183820/http://www.visitbritain.org/mediaroom/archive/2011/vbrwwedding.aspx">Visit Britain</a> found that around 60% of tourists to the UK are likely to visit places associated with the royal family. While there is no more recent specifically royal data, in 2022 Visit Britain found that history and heritage was the biggest <a href="https://www.visitbritain.org/MIDAS-research-project">pull factor to tourists</a>.</p> <p>And while the <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1468797606071477">international perception</a> of Britain is certainly intertwined with the royal family, this does not tell us whether a reigning royal family is necessary for tourism. After all, the history surrounding the monarchy and places associated with them would still be here even if the royal family was not. Ottoman palaces of Istanbul remain <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/most-visited-castles-palaces/index.html">wildly popular</a> attractions 100 years since the collapse of the caliphate, as are the royal châteaus of France or imperial palaces of China.</p> <p>Lack of royalty does not seem to have affected these countries’ appeal, each of which attract <a href="https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/epdf/10.18111/wtobarometereng.2020.18.1.7">more tourists</a> annually than the UK.</p> <h2>A special relationship</h2> <p>The USA is the UK’s <a href="https://www.visitbritain.org/inbound-tourism-trends-old">largest tourist market</a>, and <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/royal-family/2023/05/05/coronation-american-tourists-britain-boom-royal-family-usa/">American tourists</a> do seem to be very fond of things associated with British royalty.</p> <p>But this may change with the new monarch. In a <a href="https://today.yougov.com/topics/entertainment/articles-reports/2021/02/17/british-royals-popular-america-poll">poll taken in February 2021</a>, before the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a whopping 68% of Americans viewed her favourably. The same poll found only 34% had a favourable opinion of Charles – but this has changed in his favour following his accession to the throne, according to a <a href="https://today.yougov.com/topics/international/articles-reports/2023/05/05/americans-think-british-royal-family-charles">poll taken before the coronation</a> which gave him a 50% approval rating in the US. That said, 62% of people in the US said they did not care about the coronation very much or at all.</p> <p>Outside America, the UK’s next largest tourist groups have significantly less interest in the royal family. The holiday firm <a href="https://www.traveldailymedia.com/study-reveals-importance-of-royal-family-to-uk-tourism-industry/">Travelzoo</a> found in 2016 that just 19% of German, 15% of French and only 10% of Spanish travellers want to come to the UK because of the British monarchy.</p> <h2>Where do tourists go?</h2> <p>Typically, when commentators discuss the royal contributions to tourism, they talk about significant events such as weddings, jubilees, coronations and funerals. Even though these events attract huge crowds, they happen rarely and are unrepresentative of the tourism industry as a whole. Research <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/13548166211004361">has found</a> that royal weddings massively improve a country’s image and brand awareness, but are not comparable to major mega events such as the Fifa World Cup, the Super Bowl or the Olympics.</p> <p>Even though royal places are popular, they are far from our most popular attractions. Of Britain’s <a href="https://www.visitbritain.org/annual-survey-visits-visitor-attractions-latest-results">ten most visited</a> free and paid-for attractions in 2021, none were royal attractions. The <a href="https://www.visitbritain.org/sites/default/files/vb-corporate/top_20_listings.pdf">highest ranking</a> royal attraction was the Tower of London, making only 17th on the list.</p> <p>Typically, Chester Zoo attracts more visitors than Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, although these statistics do not differentiate between domestic and international tourists. In the most recent <a href="https://www.windsor.gov.uk/dbimgs/Windsor%202017%20Visitor%20Survey%20final%20report%2028_11_17.pdf">Windsor visitor survey</a>, the majority of its tourists came from overseas.</p> <p>Anti-monarchy group <a href="https://www.republic.org.uk/tourism">Republic</a> has disputed the widely cited figure that the monarchy generates £500 million in tourism income for the UK annually – which itself would be only a small fraction of Britain’s £127 billion tourism economy.</p> <p>The group also questions why royalty <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hL9yDOK48A">barely feature</a> on British tourism campaigns or advertisements, if they are so vital to the tourism economy.</p> <p>It is impossible to deny that royalty adds to the UK’s appeal as a tourist destination – the history and associated heritage is famous worldwide. However, what is questionable is whether a reigning monarchy is necessary for this attractiveness to continue.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/205158/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ross-bennett-cook-1301368"><em>Ross Bennett-Cook</em></a><em>, Visiting Lecturer, School of Architecture + Cities, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-westminster-916">University of Westminster</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-british-tourism-really-need-the-royal-family-205158">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Sustainable tourism needs to be built with the help of locals

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745">Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</a></em></p> <p>In the wake of the pandemic, tourism is experiencing a period of transition in which <a href="https://theconversation.com/el-futuro-del-turismo-inteligente-digital-y-sostenible-153965">two trends</a> which were already prevalent pre Covid-19 have gained momentum:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Sustainability, together with climate change, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.</p> </li> <li> <p>Digitalization, together with the new technological revolution.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If we focus on sustainability – whilst still emphasizing that technological ecosystems are essential for the development of tourism – we have to be aware that making sustainable that which has not been designed as such (a destination, a resort, a mode of transport, etc.) is not easy, fast or affordable. This is especially true since, rather than conforming to standards, labels or certifications, we must change our relationship with the environment in order to be sustainable, rather than just appearing to be so.</p> <h2>Sustainability must be economical, environmental and social</h2> <p>When a term is used so frequently, its meaning tends to become diluted. In fact, in this case, the term sustainable tourism is increasingly being replaced by regenerative tourism.</p> <p><a href="https://doughnuteconomics.org/">Not all aspects of sustainability</a> are addressed with equal emphasis. Economic sustainability is taken for granted and environmental sustainability is taken into immediate consideration, while social sustainability is put on the back burner (see, among many others, <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-the-party-over-in-the-balearics-b9qw9j7qp">the case of Ibiza and the cost of housing</a>).</p> <p>If there is to be true social sustainability, which in turn drives economic and environmental sustainability, the governance of tourism has to evolve.</p> <p>Before the pandemic, and in the post-pandemic period, news related to the sustainability of tourism appeared in the media.</p> <p>Negative attitudes towards tourism are once again prevalent, although in reality these are not directed against tourism itself but against certain models of tourism development, the product of a certain governance where it is important to take a look at who makes decisions and how.</p> <p>More than a one-off phenomenon, the problem of mass tourism is being tackled with various types of measures, such as the following:</p> <ul> <li> <p>The use of fiscal measures(e.g. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_tax">ecotaxes</a>).</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting the capacity of certain spaces (or even temporarily closing them).</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of the variable prices to regulate demand.</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of technological tools that assist in redirecting tourist flows, in an attempt to disperse the masses to other attractions that are not overcrowded (assuming that those affected wish to do so).</p> </li> <li> <p>The sanctioning of certain behaviour.</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting accommodation options.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The case of <a href="https://www.euronews.com/travel/2023/06/22/sardinia-popular-beaches-protected-with-towel-bans-pre-booked-tickets-and-entry-fees">the island of Sardinia and its beaches</a> is perhaps less well known than others, but very telling in this context.</p> <h2>Appreciating tourism</h2> <p>The positive attitude of the population towards the impact of tourism development in their area may change significantly if <a href="https://theconversation.com/saturacion-turistica-un-problema-global-creciente-100778">the negative impact is perceived as outweighing the positive effects of it</a>.</p> <p>This happens when the tolerance level of the local community is exceeded and tourism no longer contributes positively to their quality of life. The problem arises when those who live there permanently begin to feel that friction with tourists disturbs and damages their lives to excess.</p> <p>When no one asks them, listens to them, takes them into account and decisions are made that severely affect their lives, it is not surprising that citizens turn against tourism when, in reality, the problem is not tourism, but the management of it.</p> <p>It is only by involving these communities in decision-making that we will find the missing link in tourism governance.</p> <p>Today, we usually speak of co-governance rather than governance. In other words, public-private partnership: a two-way governance which, although necessary, is not sufficient because they alone are not the only stakeholders involved.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/como-superar-el-efecto-guggenheim-196421">A partnership with citizens</a>, in a broad sense, is essential to ensure their welfare and to avoid or reverse the trend of disconnection with tourism activities.</p> <p>The point is that tourism is required as an economic activity that affects the entire community, and the latter is something that seems to be missing or unwilling to be addressed. Tourism should not be created by political and business representatives without the local people, but with them. That’s the big difference.</p> <p>There is an added complexity, particularly in terms of legitimacy, in identifying the representatives of stakeholders in the territory and establishing effective participation mechanisms – not only with a voice, but also with a vote in certain decisions. However, this is the best way to support the tourism industry and to overcome mistrust and detachment.</p> <p>We must move towards inclusive and integrative governance, with <a href="https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284420841">a three-pronged approach</a>: public, private and community, whose study and application are virtually unknown fields.</p> <p>The question is not so much of what to do, but how to do it: a new model of shared leadership must include a redistribution of power within the system, which will require an extra effort to break down barriers and overcome resistance.</p> <h2>Co-governance and well-being</h2> <p>To avoid negative attitudes towards tourism, and promote harmonious relationships between locals and visitors as a path to sustainability, tourism must be able to forge a broad alliance with society.</p> <p>It is not about managing a destination, but a community with permanent residents and tourists, the latter being understood as temporary residents. The well-being of both must be at the core of the governance architecture.</p> <p>Although there is usually short-sightedness in political decisions – marked by electoral horizons – and in business decision-making – especially if they are geared towards speculation and immediate returns – the lack of support from the local population will end up generating a boomerang effect.</p> <p>Do we know the type of tourism development desired (or tolerated) by host communities? Are the voices of the local population heard and taken into account in the decision making processes, with a view to their well-being? Local communities have a much more decisive role to play in consolidating democracies. A tourism-oriented society must be geared towards tourism and committed to its development and co-creation.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211296/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745"><em>Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</em></a><em>, Catedrático de Universidad, área de Organización de Empresas, Dirección Estratégica, Turismo (empresas y destinos) - Jubilado, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sustainable-tourism-needs-to-be-built-with-the-help-of-locals-211296">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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An entry fee may not be enough to save Venice from 20 million tourists

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sameer-hosany-292658">Sameer Hosany</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/royal-holloway-university-of-london-795">Royal Holloway University of London</a></em></p> <p>Venice’s history, art and architecture attract an estimated <a href="https://www.responsibletravel.com/copy/overtourism-in-venice">20 million</a> visitors every year. The city, a <a href="https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&amp;type=pdf&amp;doi=ac36ced945412121372dc892cc31498fb268247c">Unesco World Heritage site</a>, is often crammed with tourists in search of special <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/mar.21665">memories</a>.</p> <p>But for the people who actually live there, this level of tourism has become unsustainable. So from 2024, day-trippers will be charged a €5 (£4.31) fee as part of an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/12/world/europe/venice-tourist-fee-italy.html#:%7E:text=The%20City%20Council%20passed%20an,popular%20but%20equally%20fragile%20place.&amp;text=Starting%20next%20spring%2C%20day%2Dtrippers,5%20euros%20for%20the%20privilege.">attempt</a> to better manage the flow of visitors.</p> <p>The city’s mayor has <a href="https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/tourism/controversial-e5-venice-tourist-tax-finally-approved">described the charge</a> – which will be implemented on 30 particularly busy days in the spring and summer – as an attempt to “protect the city from mass tourism”. It comes after cruise ships were banned from entering the fragile Venice lagoon in 2021.</p> <p>Both policies are designed to respond to the particular problem facing Venice, which is that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/02/venice-day-trippers-will-have-to-make-reservations-and-pay-fee">around 80%</a> of its tourists come just for the day. Research has shown that such a high proportion of day-trippers – who tend to spend little – <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160738395000658">pushes</a> a tourist destination <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1541-0064.1980.tb00970.x">towards decline</a>.</p> <p>So from next year, all travellers to Venice will have to register their visit in advance and obtain a QR code online. Day trippers will then have to pay the fee; visitors staying overnight will not.</p> <p>Other exemptions include children under 14, as well as people who travel to the city for work and study, or to visit family members. To enforce the policy, the municipal police and authorised inspectors will carry out random checks. Anyone without the proper QR code will face a fine of up to €300 (£261).</p> <p>But some have expressed doubts about whether the €5 fee – the price of a coffee or an ice cream – will be enough to dissuade tourists from travelling to this iconic ancient city. One city politician <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/12/world/europe/venice-tourist-fee-italy.html">commented</a> that the charge means Venice has become “a theme park, a Disneyland,” where “you get in by paying an entrance fee.”</p> <p>Certainly the charge is a lot less than Bhutan’s (recently reduced) “sustainable development fee” of <a href="https://globetrender.com/2023/09/17/bhutan-woos-more-tourists-reduced-entry-tax/">US$100 (£82) per night</a>, which applies to all tourists, and was introduced to encourage “high value, low impact” tourism. Research also indicates that strategies aiming at persuading tourists to come at less crowded times <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780080436746/seasonality-in-tourism">do not reduce numbers</a> at peak periods, but actually end up increasing overall demand.</p> <h2>‘Veniceland’</h2> <p>But Venice has to try something. For <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/24/6937">researchers</a>, Venice is the embodiment of <a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/book/10.1079/9781786399823.0000">overtourism</a>, and residents clearly suffer from the consequences – living with the congestion, environmental damage and affects on their lifestyle and culture that 20 million visitors can cause.</p> <p>This can then lead to a negative response, known as “<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348605007_Overtourism_and_Tourismphobia_A_Journey_Through_Five_Decades_of_Tourism_Development_Planning_and_Local_Concerns">tourismphobia</a>”.Another term, “<a href="https://dokufest.com/en/festival/2013/cities-beyond-borders/das-venedig-prinzip-the-venice-syndrome#:%7E:text=The%20film%20shows%20what%20remains,municipal%20council%20with%20scorn%3B%20a">Venice Syndrome</a>” has been used to describe the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275123001816#:%7E:text=It%20explains%20the%20data%2Dgathering,between%20urban%20form%20conditions%20and">decline of the city’s</a> permanent population, as citizens feel forced to leave.</p> <p>Venice’s population is around 50,000 and has been consistently falling, from a peak of <a href="https://www.blueguides.com/venice-in-peril/">175,000</a>. If the population falls below 40,000, there is concern that Venice will cease to be a <a href="https://www.responsibletravel.com/copy/overtourism-in-venice">viable living city</a>.</p> <p>Those who remain have often expressed their discontent. Well publicised protests have included the “<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venice-funeral-idUKTRE5AD1DQ20091114">Funeral of Venice</a>” in 2009, a mock funeral to mourn the sharp drop in population, and “<a href="https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1065&amp;context=anthro_theses">Welcome to Veniceland</a>” in 2010, which claimed that Venice was becoming more of a theme park.</p> <p>And while “tourist taxes” <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616688.2019.1669070">remain popular strategies</a> to address overtourism, their effectiveness remains debatable. Instead, research suggests that a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616688.2019.1669070">combination</a> of specific economic measures (like fees and variable pricing) and non-economic policies (such as educating visitors) is the best option.</p> <p>That combination needs to be specially designed for each destination. There can be no one-size-fits-all solution. A <a href="https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284420070">report</a> by the World Tourism Organisation on overtourism identifies 11 different strategies and 68 measures to manage visitors’ growth in urban destinations.</p> <p>Barcelona, often seen as a city which has done well in handling mass tourism, has successfully used a <a href="https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/216242/1/CESifo-Forum-2019-03-p20-24.pdf">well targeted approach</a>. This has included harnessing new technology to develop a data driven management system to control visitor flows and overcrowding. It also deliberately engaged with the public when deciding on policies, and came up with specific strategies like limiting the number of new souvenir shops.</p> <p>But it did not resort to charging an entrance fee. Venice will be the first city in the world to do so – and other locations struggling with mass tourism will be keeping a close eye on whether such a bold move turns out to be a success.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/213703/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sameer-hosany-292658"><em>Sameer Hosany</em></a><em>, Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/royal-holloway-university-of-london-795">Royal Holloway University of London</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/an-entry-fee-may-not-be-enough-to-save-venice-from-20-million-tourists-213703">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Top End tourism surge after massive search for fake Aussie town

<p>In an absolute boon to Top End tourism, it appears that Google users have been working overtime trying to locate a little slice of Northern Territory paradise known as Agnes Bluff and its nearby neighbour Mia Tukurta National Park. Why, you ask? Because they're convinced it's the next hidden holiday hotspot. But here's the catch: it's completely made up.</p> <p>This newfound obsession with Agnes Bluff and Mia Tukurta National Park is all thanks to Amazon Prime's latest hit series, <em>The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart</em>. People have been binge-watching the show and drooling over the stunning landscapes, causing Google searches for these places to shoot up like a rocket on a sugar rush. </p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/northern-territory/google-searches-surge-for-agnes-bluff-an-aussie-town-that-doesnt-exist/news-story/59f00cc1e89074de0e6464c0072ae4b8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a>, Google searches for Agnes Bluff skyrocketed by a whopping 1640 per cent between July and August in Australia, and then another 40 per cent in September, all thanks to the series. And it's not just our fellow Aussies on the hunt for these mystical places – folks from Spain, Canada, the UK, the United States and Italy are also joining the imaginary treasure hunt.</p> <p>Can we blame them for trying to uncover these hidden gems? After all, in the show, Agnes Bluff and Mia Tukurta National Park look so darn spectacular that even the Loch Ness Monster might want to visit. But chin up, dear travellers! While you can't exactly book a one-way ticket to Fantasyland, you can still visit the real-life locations that inspired the series.</p> <p>This show was born from the creative genius of Aussie author Holly Ringland, who drew inspiration from her time living on Anangu land in Australia's Western Desert. In her news.com.au interview, she said, "To know people are Googling these places I fictionalised feels like a shot of joy straight to my heart – I don't know that there could be a greater compliment given to my writing." </p> <p>So, where was the series actually filmed? Well, it turns out they filmed all over Central Australia, including places like the Alice Springs Desert Park, Simpsons Gap, Ooraminna Station, Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge – just to name a few.</p> <p>And that crater that had everyone drooling? It's called Tnorala, or Gosses Bluff, and it's a mere 175km from Alice Springs.</p> <p>In fact, search interest in Gosses Bluff crater has hit a 15-year high in Australia, increasing by a whopping 500 per cent in August alone – so, it seems like people are genuinely eager to find their own piece of Alice Hart's world.</p> <p>Now, if you're wondering about the burning question that's on everyone's minds, it's this: "What is the crater in <em>The Lost Flowers for Alice Hart</em>?" And let me tell you, Gosses Bluff, or Tnorala, is the crater-du-jour.</p> <p>But here's the best part – this place is absolutely real; it's not a mirage or a figment of some writer's imagination. You can actually go there, touch it (not the crater itself, though), and breathe in the stunning views. Sure, you can't frolic inside the crater, but there are viewing points that will have you oohing and aahing like a kid in a candy store.</p> <p>And so, while Agnes Bluff and Mia Tukurta National Park might be the stuff of dreams, Gosses Bluff is the real deal. So it could be  ime to pack your bags, grab your camera and get ready for an adventure that's so real, it'll make your Google searches feel like a distant dream. </p> <p><em>Images: Prime Video</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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“Take official warnings seriously”: Aussies warned to not travel to surprising destination

<p dir="ltr">Australian travellers have been urged to exercise caution if they are planning to visit a popular Scandinavian tourist destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have warned Aussies to use “a high degree of caution in Sweden due to the threat of terrorism” in its official travel advisory for the country.</p> <p dir="ltr">The warning comes as Sweden has the country has seen a surge in racial and religious tensions, with violence escalating after anti-Islam activists publicly burned and damaged copies of the Islamic sacred text, the Quran.</p> <p dir="ltr">As a result of the violence, Australia's official <a href="https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/sweden" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SmartTraveller website</a> has placed the Scandinavian country on a Level Two alert, which means visitors need to be more cautious than normal.</p> <p dir="ltr">The warning does not include urging travellers to reconsider a trip or being told not to go to a destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">“You should maintain a high level of vigilance in public spaces,” the website says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Since the beginning of 2023, there's been an increase in public burnings of the Quran, which has led to a deterioration in the security situation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Swedish Government has assessed the risk of terrorism as an 'elevated threat', equivalent to a threat level of 3 out of 5.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This rating means an attack could happen. Take official warnings seriously.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The website offers some further advice to “protect yourself from terrorism”, including avoiding places that could be terrorist targets (such as airports, travel hubs, tourism hotspots and places of worship), avoiding visiting such places at peak times and having “a clear exit plan if there's a security incident”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Travellers are also advised to “consider the level of security around you”, report suspicious items to police, and monitor official advice and media assessments.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australia is not alone in classifying Sweden as a more dangerous country for tourists, as the UK's Home Office has warned terrorist attacks “could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners”, while the US Department of State says terrorist groups “continue plotting possible attacks in Sweden”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

International Travel

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Instagram is making you a worse tourist – here’s how to travel respectfully

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-a-siegel-1416907">Lauren A. Siegel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-greenwich-1298">University of Greenwich</a></em></p> <p>Travel is back in full swing this summer, and so is bad behaviour by tourists.</p> <p>Popular destinations have seen an uptick in incidents involving tourists in <a href="http://darwin.cnn-travel-vertical.ui.cnn.io/travel/article/tourists-behaving-badly/index.html?gallery=0">recent years</a>. Reports of a <a href="https://www.euronews.com/culture/2023/06/30/hunt-for-tourist-who-carved-name-in-colosseum-intensifies">man defacing</a> the Colosseum in Rome shows that behaviour has deteriorated even in places that rarely had problems in the past.</p> <p>What’s behind these abhorrent acts? One answer, <a href="https://ertr-ojs-tamu.tdl.org/ertr/article/view/541/178">my research shows</a>, is social media. Instagram and TikTok have made it easy to find “hidden gem” restaurants and discover new destinations to add to your bucket list. But this democratisation of travel has had other consequences.</p> <p>Because people now see their social media connections from their home environment travelling in an exotic location, they assume (consciously or not) that behaviour they ordinarily carry out at home is also acceptable in that holiday destination.</p> <p>This is known as <a href="https://fs.blog/mental-model-social-proof/">social proof</a>, when we look to the behaviours of others to inform our own actions. People are likely to act more <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0013916508319448">hedonistically while on holiday</a>. Now, travellers also look to social media for proof of how others behave. If their peers from home are throwing caution to the wind while on holiday, this can cause a domino effect of bad behaviour.</p> <p>I’ve identified other bad travel attitudes and habits that have emerged as a result of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212571X23000045?via%3Dihub">social media-driven tourism</a>.</p> <p>For example, the <a href="https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/identifiable-victim-effect">identifiable victim effect</a>, which explains how people are more likely to sympathise with victims of tragedies when they know who those victims are. Because tourists are often sheltered in hotels and resorts away from local communities, they might (wrongly) think that travelling to a place far from home is an opportunity for consequence-free bad behaviour. They underestimate or ignore the effect their actions can have on locals or the economy.</p> <h2>The Instagram effect</h2> <p>When people travel to a beautiful place, the temptation to post photos and videos to social media is high. But, as <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13683500.2022.2086451">I have argued</a>, this creates a cycle that contributes to more self-indulgent travel.</p> <p>First, tourists see their friends post photos from a place (revealed through geotags). They then want to visit the same places and take the same sorts of photos of themselves there. Eventually they post them on the same social networks where they saw the initial photos.</p> <p>Being able to travel to and post about visiting the same places as one’s social group or online connections can be a form of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10548408.2018.1499579?casa_token=mVH_AlLB_4kAAAAA%3Ahdz29HMEh5aCiK4TopW8WBS3lY2ZJ2n6CZQWhL5aH7d-ZK3lpsvUlowHtdy4Pa-e7ergNJgcGfI">social status</a>. But it means that, in some cases, travellers will put more energy into creating content than they will to exploration, discovery or being respectful to local customs.</p> <h2>Hotspots respond</h2> <p>Bali is one destination with a reputation for social media-induced tourism. The photogenic island, replete with yoga retreats, is a huge draw for influencers.</p> <p>In response to tourist misbehaviour, Bali <a href="https://thebalisun.com/balis-much-anticipated-list-of-dos-and-donts-for-tourists-revealed/">introduced new guidelines</a> for visitors in June 2023. These include rules about proper behaviour in the sacred temples, around the island and with locals, and respecting the natural environment.</p> <p>Tourists now need a <a href="https://thebalisun.com/bali-warns-tourists-must-have-international-driving-license-to-drive-scooters-on-the-island">licence</a> for motorbike rentals, and may not set foot on any mountain or volcano in Bali due to their sacred nature. Travellers must only stay in registered hotels and villas (which will impact a number of Airbnb properties). Bali has introduced a “tourist task force” to enforce the restrictions, through raids and investigations if necessary.</p> <p>One new guideline is to not act aggressively or use harsh words towards locals, government officials or other tourists both while in Bali, or, notably, online. This speaks to the role of social media as part of the problem when it comes to bad tourist behaviour.</p> <p>Other destinations have taken similar steps. <a href="https://pledge.visiticeland.com">Iceland</a>, <a href="https://mauitourism.org/Videos/malama-pledge.htm">Hawaii</a>, <a href="https://palaupledge.com">Palau</a>, <a href="https://www.tiakinewzealand.com">New Zealand</a>, <a href="https://costarica-sanctuary.com/make-it-happen/">Costa Rica</a> and others have adopted pledges for visitors to abide by local laws and customs. Campaigns like Switzerland’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXcBGfXXL4w">No Drama</a>, Austria’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgn3Y7kvJXE">See Vienna – not #Vienna</a>, Finland’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/oct/17/finland-be-more-like-finn-campaign-tourism-pledge-initiatives">Be more like a Finn</a> and the Netherlands’ <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/dariosabaghi/2023/03/31/amsterdam-launches-stay-away-campaign-targeting-wild-party-behavior-of-young-british-tourists/">How to Amsterdam</a> are aimed at attracting well-behaved tourists.</p> <p>Where such efforts aren’t successful, some places such as Thailand’s famous Maya Bay have taken it further and fully closed to tourists, <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/maya-bay-thailand-recovery-c2e-spc-intl/index.html">at least temporarily</a>.</p> <h2>Travel respectfully</h2> <p>Remember you are a guest of the host communities when you travel. Here are some ways to ensure that you will be asked back.</p> <p><strong>1. Do your research</strong></p> <p>Even if you’re a seasoned traveller, you may not realise the impact your actions have on local communities. But a bit of information – from your own research or provided by local governments – might be enough to help you act more appropriately. Before you go, look up guidelines or background information on local cultural or safety norms.</p> <p>Whether you agree with the customs or not is irrelevant. If it is a more conservative place than you are used to, you should be mindful of that – unlike the two influencers who were <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/16/bali-warns-misbehaving-tourists-will-sent-home-instagram-influencers/">arrested</a> for explicit behaviour in a temple in Bali.</p> <p><strong>2. Put down your phone…</strong></p> <p>Research shows that when travelling, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016073831730097X">people can become alienated</a> from their surroundings if they are more focused on their devices than the destination.</p> <p>Often the most memorable travel experiences will be when you have a meaningful connection with someone, or learn something new that you’ve never experienced before. That becomes harder if you’re constantly looking at your phone.</p> <p><strong>3. …or use your influence for good</strong></p> <p>In popular “Instagram v reality” <a href="https://matadornetwork.com/read/instagram-vs-reality-tuscany-switzerland/">posts</a>, influencers are revealing the huge crowds and queues behind the most Instagrammable locations.</p> <p>Showing the less-than-glamorous conditions behind those iconic shots could influence your own social media connections to rethink their personal travel motivations – are they just going somewhere to get the perfect selfie? Having more evidence of these conditions circulating online could lead to a larger societal shift away from social media-induced tourism.</p> <p>If you have the urge to post, try to promote smaller businesses and make sure you are demonstrating proper (and legal) etiquette on your holiday.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/209272/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-a-siegel-1416907">Lauren A. Siegel</a>, Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-greenwich-1298">University of Greenwich</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/instagram-is-making-you-a-worse-tourist-heres-how-to-travel-respectfully-209272">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Tips

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"Heartbreaking" issue set to engulf Bali

<p>A viral video has shown the devastating side of tourism in Bali, with mountains of garbage taking over the popular holiday destination. </p> <p>Gary Bencheghib, a French filmmaker living in Indonesia, captured a heartbreaking video of a massive “open rubbish dump” 50 metres high covered in trash.</p> <p>He said it is one of many open dumps around Bali, which are overflowing with waste. </p> <p>“I’ve just made it here, right at the foot of this giant open landfill. It’s so high we can’t even see the top and it falls right into the river,” he said.</p> <p>Gary’s post has attracted hundreds of comments from shocked users who described the state of the site as “depressing”. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CvH6Sw2t09U/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CvH6Sw2t09U/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Gary Bencheghib (@garybencheghib)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“My️ [heart] brakes by seeing this … such a beautiful country! They need education and see this. How can I help???” one person asked</p> <p>“Totally heartbreaking,” said another.</p> <p>A third person wrote, “As we love Bali so much, things like this need to be addressed also by the local community and local government hand-in-hand.”</p> <p>In an attempt to combat the ever-growing rubbish problem, that Indonesian officials have said will cost $40 million to fully resolve, a new tourism tax has been implemented. </p> <p>In July, Bali Governor Wayan Koster confirmed as of next year tourists will need to pay 150,000 Indonesian rupiah (about $15) to enter the popular island.</p> <p>He said the funds would be used for “the environment, culture and [to] build better quality infrastructure”.</p> <p>Indonesia’s co-ordinating minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, suggested to have the money spent on addressing Bali’s waste problem.</p> <p>"I think it [tourism tax] is good for Bali; why not use it to look after its waste,” he told reporters last week after signing a new conservation agreement at the Bali Turtle Special Economic Zone.</p> <p>“Garbage must be cleaned; now there is a smell. I spoke to the mayor of Denpasar to fix it but don’t use it as a political issue, it’s not good just fix it and reduce the smell.”</p> <p>He explained that if it continues without “significant and rapid improvement” the problem will become “uncontrollable”,<em> <a title="thebalisun.com" href="https://thebalisun.com/minister-says-new-tourism-tax-in-bali-should-be-used-to-tackle-islands-waste-problem/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Bali Sun</a></em> reported.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tourists flock to the Mediterranean as if the climate crisis isn’t happening. This year’s heat and fire will force change

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susanne-becken-90437">Susanne Becken</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-loehr-1457342">Johanna Loehr</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Thousands of people on the beach. Children reportedly falling off evacuation boats. Panic. People fleeing with the clothes on their backs. It felt like “the end of the world”, according to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/23/british-tourists-tell-of-nightmare-in-rhodes-fires-greece">one tourist</a>.</p> <p>The fires sweeping through the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu are showing us favourite holiday destinations are no longer safe as climate change intensifies.</p> <p>For decades, tourists have flocked to the Mediterranean for the northern summer. Australians, Scandinavians, Brits, Russians all arrive seeking warmer weather. After COVID, many of us have been keen to travel once again.</p> <p>But this year, the intense heatwaves have claimed <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/world/heatwave-pictures-wildfires-worsen-greece-italy-spain-europe-us-2488556">hundreds of lives</a> in Spain alone. Major tourist drawcards such as the Acropolis in Athens have been closed. Climate scientists are “stunned by the ferocity” of the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jul/25/northern-hemisphere-heatwaves-europe-greece-italy-wildfires-extreme-weather-climate-experts">heat</a>.</p> <p>This year is likely to force a rethink for tourists and for tourism operators. Expect to see more trips taken during shoulder seasons, avoiding the increasingly intense July to August summer. And expect temperate countries to become more popular tourist destinations. Warm-weather tourist destinations will have to radically change.</p> <h2>What will climate change do to mass tourism?</h2> <p>Weather is a major factor in tourism. In Europe and North America, people tend to go from northern countries to southern regions. Chinese tourists, like Australians, often head to Southeast Asian beaches.</p> <p>In Europe, the north-south flow is almost hardwired. When Australians go overseas, they often choose Mediterranean summers. Over the last decade, hotter summers haven’t been a dealbreaker.</p> <p>But this year is likely to drive change. You can already see that in the growing popularity of shoulder seasons (June or September) in the traditional Northern Hemisphere summer destinations.</p> <p>Many of us are shifting how we think about hot weather holidays from something we seek to something we fear. This comes on top of consumer shifts such as those related to sustainability and <a href="https://theconversation.com/flight-shaming-how-to-spread-the-campaign-that-made-swedes-give-up-flying-for-good-133842">flight shame</a>.</p> <p>What about disaster tourism? While thrillseekers <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jul/22/death-valley-tourism-extreme-weather-california">may be flocking</a> to Death Valley to experience temperatures over 50℃, it’s hard to imagine this type of tourism going mainstream.</p> <p>What we’re more likely to see is more people seeking “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2016.1213849?journalCode=rsus20">last-chance</a>” experiences, with tourists flocking to highly vulnerable sites such as the Great Barrier Reef. Of course, this type of tourism isn’t sustainable long-term.</p> <h2>What does this mean for countries reliant on tourism?</h2> <p>The crisis in Rhodes shows us the perils of the just-in-time model of tourism, where you bring in tourists and everything they need –food, water, wine – as they need it.</p> <p>The system is geared to efficiency. But that means there’s little space for contingencies. Rhodes wasn’t able to easily evacuate 19,000 tourists. This approach will have to change to a just-in-case approach, as in other <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/willyshih/2022/01/30/from-just-in-time-to-just-in-case-is-excess-and-obsolete-next/?sh=195cd054daf7">supply chains</a>.</p> <p>For <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261517712002063">emergency services</a>, tourists pose a particular challenge. Locals have a better understanding than tourists of risks and escape routes. Plus tourists don’t speak the language. That makes them much harder to help compared to locals.</p> <p>Climate change poses immense challenges in other ways, too. Pacific atoll nations like Kiribati or Tuvalu <a href="https://www.pacificpsdi.org/assets/Uploads/PSDI-TourismSnapshot-TUV3.pdf">would love</a> more tourists to visit. The problem there is water. Sourcing enough water for locals is getting harder. And tourists use a lot of water – drinking it, showering in it, swimming in it. Careful planning will be required to ensure local carrying capacities are not exceeded by tourism.</p> <p>So does this spell the end of mass tourism? Not entirely. But it will certainly accelerate the trend in countries like Spain away from mass tourism, or “overtourism”. In super-popular tourist destinations like Spain’s Balearic Islands, there’s been an increasing pushback from locals against <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-in-the-era-of-overtourism-but-there-is-a-more-sustainable-way-forward-108906">overtourism</a> in favour of specialised tourism with smaller numbers spread out over the year.</p> <p>Is this year a wake-up call? Yes. The intensifying climate crisis means many of us are now more focused on what we can do to stave off the worst of it by, say, avoiding flights. The pressure for change is growing too. Delta Airlines is being sued over its announcement to go carbon neutral by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/30/delta-air-lines-lawsuit-carbon-neutrality-aoe">using offsets</a>, for instance.</p> <h2>Mountains not beaches: future tourism may look a lot different</h2> <p>You can already see efforts to adapt to the changes in many countries. In Italy, for instance, domestic mountain tourism is <a href="https://www.euromontana.org/en/neve-diversa-how-mountain-tourism-can-adapt-to-climate-change/">growing</a>, enticing people from hot and humid Milan and Rome up where the air is cooler – even if the snow is disappearing.</p> <p>China, which doesn’t do things by halves, is investing in mountain resorts. The goal here is to offer cooler alternatives like northern China’s <a href="https://english.news.cn/20230714/9ae6f89a6b7b433ebde3ec689b87f6db/c.html">Jilin province</a> to beach holidays for sweltering residents of megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai.</p> <p>Some mountainous countries are unlikely to seize the opportunity because they don’t want to draw more tourists. Norway is considering a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidnikel/2022/12/03/norway-to-consider-introducing-tourist-tax-from-2024/?sh=710871eb1b27">tourist tax</a>.</p> <p>Forward-thinking countries will be better prepared. But there are limits to preparation and adaptation. Mediterranean summer holidays will be less and less appealing, as the region is a <a href="https://www.unep.org/unepmap/resources/factsheets/climate-change">heating hotspot</a>, warming 20% faster than the world average. Italy and Spain are still <a href="https://joint-research-centre.ec.europa.eu/jrc-news-and-updates/severe-drought-western-mediterranean-faces-low-river-flows-and-crop-yields-earlier-ever-2023-06-13_en">in the grip</a> of a record-breaking drought, threatening food and water supplies. The future of tourism is going to be very different. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/210282/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susanne-becken-90437">Susanne Becken</a>, Professor of Sustainable Tourism, Griffith Institute for Tourism, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-loehr-1457342">Johanna Loehr</a>, , <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/tourists-flock-to-the-mediterranean-as-if-the-climate-crisis-isnt-happening-this-years-heat-and-fire-will-force-change-210282">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Why is extreme ‘frontier travel’ booming despite the risks?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-hardy-151480">Anne Hardy</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/can-seng-ooi-399312">Can Seng Ooi</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hanne-e-f-nielsen-139245">Hanne E.F. Nielsen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joseph-m-cheer-104606">Joseph M. Cheer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>The world has watched in shock as rescue crews feverishly search for the <a href="https://oceangate.com/our-subs/titan-submersible.html">Titan</a> submersible vehicle, which <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jun/19/titanic-tourist-submarine-missing-north-atlantic">disappeared</a> while attempting to take tourists to view the wreckage of the Titanic in the North Atlantic.</p> <p>The horror of the incident raises questions as to why people engage in risky tourism activities in remote locations and whether there should be more restrictions to what adrenaline-seeking tourists can do.</p> <h2>What is frontier tourism?</h2> <p>This type of travel, known as “<a href="https://research.monash.edu/en/publications/frontier-tourism-retracing-mythic-journeys">frontier tourism</a>”, is becoming big business.</p> <p>The wider adventure tourism industry is already worth <a href="https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/adventure-tourism-market">billions of dollars</a> – and is growing quickly. Frontier tourism is an exclusive and extreme form of adventure travel. The trips are very expensive, aim to overstimulate the senses and go to the outer limits of our planet – the deep oceans, high mountains, polar areas – and even space.</p> <p>Frontier tourism is not new; humans have explored remote locations for millennia. Pasifika people used the stars to navigate the oceans for migration and trade. Europeans sailed to the edges of what they believed to be a flat Earth.</p> <p>In recent years, however, frontier tourism has attracted widespread attention thanks to the common occurrence of long queues on <a href="https://theconversation.com/70-years-after-the-first-ascent-of-everest-the-impact-of-mass-mountaineering-must-be-confronted-204270">Mount Everest</a>, the trending <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/discover/Drake-Shake">TikTok phenomenon</a> of crossing the #DrakePassage in <a href="https://theconversation.com/more-than-100-000-tourists-will-head-to-antarctica-this-summer-should-we-worry-about-damage-to-the-ice-and-its-ecosystems-192843">Antarctica</a> and the rapid development of <a href="https://theconversation.com/virgin-galactics-use-of-the-overview-effect-to-promote-space-tourism-is-a-terrible-irony-206868">space tourism</a> for the wealthy.</p> <p>The rise of travel content sharing on social media and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10548408.2021.2006858?journalCode=wttm20">revenge travel following COVID-19</a> have contributed to the surge in its popularity.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">When you’re happily having dinner and the ocean decides to scare the shit out of you! <br />Cue debate around just how strong those windows are… <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DrakePassage?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DrakePassage</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SouthernOcean?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SouthernOcean</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BigSwell?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BigSwell</a> <a href="https://t.co/OLDq5W2Wkm">pic.twitter.com/OLDq5W2Wkm</a></p> <p>— Dan Brown (@DanBrownNature) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanBrownNature/status/1598669901350293509?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 2, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <h2>Why are we so obsessed with extreme forms of tourism?</h2> <p>Risky activities release chemicals in the brain that can be addictive. Research <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916594261001">suggests</a> engaging in risky tourism activities, such as scaling a high mountain, can bring about feelings of accomplishment and euphoria. Travellers report feeling alive and experiencing a sense of transformation.</p> <p>Some are also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2021.1897131">attracted</a> to the pristine, untouched and remote aspects of the locations that they visit. Furthermore, the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/20/movies/james-cameron-titanic.html">element of fantasy</a> associated with imagining certain places or stories, like the movie Titanic, can be alluring.</p> <p>Besides physical frontiers, there is also the <a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/10.1079/9781780642093.0111">thrill people get</a> at pushing the human body to its limits and facing one’s fears. Base-jumping, skydiving, bungee jumping and polar plunges are common examples of this.</p> <p>In a slightly more mundane way, even tasting “<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1356766709104271">scary food</a>” pushes tourists outside of their comfort zone and helps them <a href="https://www.insider.com/harvard-psychologist-why-wealthy-seek-high-risk-trips-titanic-space-2023-6">feel alive</a>.</p> <p>Still others make extreme tourist journeys to follow in the <a href="https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/nebraska/9781496221216/">footsteps of their heroes</a>, such as those who travel to Antarctica to pay homage to explorer Ernest Shackleton.</p> <p>Extreme and risky activities not only make participants feel euphoric, but they also convey status. When bucket lists are ticked off and experiences shared on social media, this brings bragging rights. <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/polar-record/article/from-awe-to-satisfaction-immediate-affective-responses-to-the-antarctic-tourism-experience/2B65FEDCEF9D7DEBB689C39C93549702">Research</a> suggests many travellers seek recognition for undertaking the first, longest or most extreme experiences possible.</p> <p>But frontier tourism is clearly not for all. It is usually only accessible to a privileged few, as the tragic circumstances of the Titan highlight. Passengers onboard the vessel reportedly paid <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-65953872">US$250,000</a> for the voyage.</p> <h2>What are the impacts of frontier tourism?</h2> <p>Beyond the unspeakable angst that friends and family must endure when things go wrong, there are many other impacts of this form of tourism.</p> <p>This type of travel can create <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003219866-11/tourist-experiences-attention-products-seng-ooi">environmental harm and negatively impact local communities</a>. For example, after decades of mass mountaineering, the environmental <a href="https://theconversation.com/70-years-after-the-first-ascent-of-everest-the-impact-of-mass-mountaineering-must-be-confronted-204270">impact</a> on Mount Everest must be addressed.</p> <p>And when mishaps do occur, the cost of search and rescue efforts can be massive and put rescue teams at great risk. The plight of frontier tourists are usually the focus of media reports, while emergency responders are often overlooked.</p> <p>Recent efforts by sherpas such as <a href="https://www.netflix.com/au/title/81464765">Nimsdai Purja</a> are trying to overcome this issue. Through the Netflix documentary, 14 Peaks, he publicises the behind-the-scene preparations and heavy lifting work done by sherpas who guide and rescue tourists up Everest and other mountains.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Climbers have been filmed crushed together in a “human traffic jam” as they battle the elements in an attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Terrifying. <a href="https://t.co/pehNmJCPdP">https://t.co/pehNmJCPdP</a> <a href="https://t.co/nxVhADM0L8">pic.twitter.com/nxVhADM0L8</a></p> <p>— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) <a href="https://twitter.com/newscomauHQ/status/1133978847387430912?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 30, 2019</a></p></blockquote> <h2>Frontier tourism is not going away</h2> <p>Despite tragedies like the Titan disappearance, tourists remain attracted to the quest for the most unique experiences in the most remote, uncharted places.</p> <p>Tourists also increasingly feel able to embark on trips once perceived as too dangerous because technology and other innovations have ostensibly made them safer and more accessible.</p> <p>In many instances that danger remains, but the commercial transaction <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1835-9310.2002.tb00213.x">strips away the perceived risks</a> involved. Marketing materials aim to sell “safe” adventures, with the risks are often listed in the fineprint. A <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/11745398.2017.1286512">polar plunge</a> in Antarctica, for instance, is often marketed as safe because participants are attached to a tether and the swim time is limited to prevent hypothermia.</p> <p>Two decades ago, in forecasting the growth of space tourism, anthropologist Valene Smith <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02508281.2000.11014920">said</a> what tourists want, the industry will provide. This has become a truism, as the Titan voyages demonstrate.</p> <p>The massive growth of frontier tourism could lead to even greater problems if the industry doesn’t respond in the right way. If travellers are going to expose themselves to extreme risks, whose responsibility is it, then, to ensure their safety and recovery should accidents occur?</p> <p>Many tourism businesses and travel insurance companies make risks known to their guests. But regulations on disclosing risks differ between countries. These means travellers may have to evaluate the risks themselves, and this is fraught with danger if company standards are low.</p> <p>One solution is frontier tourism might be best experienced in controlled and safe environments through <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616688.2023.2224043">digital storytelling</a> or <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/15/4/3348">augmented and mixed reality</a>. However, this may not be enough to satisfy the adrenaline junkies out there.</p> <p>As the Titan incident illustrates, the unpredictable nature and unintended consequences of frontier tourism are very real things. While money can allow us to travel almost anywhere, it’s worth considering whether some places should just remain untouched, sacred and off limits completely.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208201/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-hardy-151480">Anne Hardy</a>, Associate Professor, Tourism and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/can-seng-ooi-399312">Can Seng Ooi</a>, Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hanne-e-f-nielsen-139245">Hanne E.F. Nielsen</a>, Senior lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joseph-m-cheer-104606">Joseph M. Cheer</a>, Professor of Sustainable Tourism and Heritage | Co Chair - World Economic Forum Global Future Council on the Future of Sustainable Tourism, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: OceanGate</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-is-extreme-frontier-travel-booming-despite-the-risks-208201">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Virgin Galactic’s use of the ‘Overview Effect’ to promote space tourism is a terrible irony

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ariane-moore-1060920">Ariane Moore</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p>Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company founded in 2004 by Richard Branson, <a href="https://www.virgingalactic.com/">promotes its flights</a> as offering:</p> <blockquote> <p>A Brand New Perspective: Deepen your connection to Earth and to humanity with the transformational experience known as the Overview Effect.</p> </blockquote> <p>First discussed in 1987 by space philosopher Frank White, the Overview Effect is a result of viewing Earth from space.</p> <p>Expressions of the effect range broadly. Astronauts might experience profound awe and wonder at the perception of Earth as a fragile living being. Some suffer crushing grief when considering the harm humans inflict on nature.</p> <p>While Virgin Galactic promotes access to the Overview Effect as a major drawcard, it is a terrible irony that space tourism is <a href="https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4527/1">enormously damaging</a> for the environment.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z6d7hyW5FDw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">On May 25, Virgin Galactic completed a final test flight before it starts taking paying customers.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>The Overview Effect</h2> <p>The Overview Effect is not limited to astronauts from the West. Their Chinese and Russian counterparts have described the same profound connection to Earth when witnessing the planet from space.</p> <p>As Soviet Russian cosmonaut Yuri Artyushkin <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fcns0000086">reported</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The feeling of unity is not simply an observation. With it comes a strong sense of compassion and concern for the state of our planet and the effect humans are having on it. It isn’t important in which sea or lake you observe a slick of pollution, or in the forests of which country a fire breaks out, or on which continent a hurricane arises. You are standing guard over the whole of our Earth.</p> </blockquote> <p>Until recently, researching the Overview Effect has required interviews with professional astronauts. Today, commercial space tourism is increasing awareness of the phenomenon, particularly when experienced by celebrities with large platforms.</p> <p>In 2021, Star Trek actor William Shatner completed a suborbital flight with Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company <a href="https://www.blueorigin.com/">Blue Origin</a>. Shatner had anticipated emotions of celebration and joy when viewing “<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/science/bezos-shatner-star-trek.html">mother and Earth and comfort</a>” from space. Instead, he <a href="https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/william-shatner-space-boldly-go-excerpt-1235395113/">later wrote</a>, he struggled with “the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered”.</p> <p>Shatner attributed his experience to the Overview Effect.</p> <h2>Space flight has a huge environmental impact</h2> <p>Virgin Galactic promotes the Overview Effect on its <a href="https://www.virgingalactic.com/">homepage</a> as an experience exclusive to space flight.</p> <p>However, access is extremely costly. While an eager space tourist consents to parting with US$450,000 to experience a profound connection with Earth, the planet itself has no say in receiving the massive pollution a single trip produces.</p> <p>Rocket emissions impact Earth’s atmosphere, temperatures and the ozone layer at an unprecedented level. A <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021EF002612">2022 study</a> found space tourism produces black carbon particles that are almost 500 times more efficient at warming the atmosphere than all surface and airline sources of soot combined.</p> <p>After being released into the upper atmosphere, the black carbon particles circulate for <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/27/how-blue-origin-spacex-virgin-galactic-space-race-could-impact-the-atmosphere.html#:%7E:text=Experiencing%20a%20few%20minutes%20of,plane%20continuously%20for%20about%20three">four to five years</a> in a fine layer. This acts as a thin black umbrella <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/27/how-blue-origin-spacex-virgin-galactic-space-race-could-impact-the-atmosphere.html#:%7E:text=Experiencing%20a%20few%20minutes%20of,plane%20continuously%20for%20about%20three">absorbing solar radiation while blocking it from reaching Earth’s surface</a>.</p> <p>A 1.5-hour Virgin Galactic flight generates emissions <a href="https://www.nsr.com/space-com-the-rise-of-space-tourism-could-affect-earths-climate-in-unforeseen-ways-scientists-worry/">equivalent to a ten-hour trans-Atlantic commercial air flight</a>. However, the latter carries hundreds of passengers. With a passenger limit of six, a Virgin Galactic launch <a href="https://theconversation.com/tourisme-spatial-quand-les-plaisirs-de-quelques-uns-polluent-la-planete-de-tous-146552">emits 4.5 tonnes of carbon <em>per person</em></a>. That’s more than twice the Paris Agreement’s recommended annual individual carbon budget.</p> <p>Space tourism rocket launches don’t currently compare to commercial airline flights in number. But the suborbital transportation and space tourism market is expected to be worth <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/outlook-on-the-sub-orbital-transportation-and-space-tourism-global-market-to-2031---featuring-blue-origin-spacex-and-virgin-galactic-among-others-301333701.html">US$2.58 billion by 2031</a>. It’s growing at an annual rate of 17.15%.</p> <p>Virgin Galactic is aiming to launch <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/06/virgin-galactic-each-spaceport-is-1-billion-annual-revenue-opportunity.html">400 space tourism flights every year</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1SJ1ENmfgmE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">In this video on its website, Virgin Galactic uses the Overview Effect to promote its space tourism business.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Caring for Earth doesn’t depend on space flight</h2> <p>The desirability of the Overview Effect is not the overwhelming emotions experienced when witnessing Earth from space. As was evident in Shatner’s feelings of immense grief, these emotions are not always pleasant.</p> <p>Instead, researchers, astronauts and space philosophers are interested in the spontaneous and powerful awareness that occurs. Astronauts’ accounts of the moment vary, but a consistent theme emerges: a connection to planet Earth that inspires environmental care.</p> <p>Importantly, such clarity can be achieved without a suborbital space flight.</p> <p><a href="https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/The_Overview_Effect/3a2rz-s3JJsC?hl=en">Frank White argues</a> that, while viewing Earth from space produces the “ultimate” Overview Effect, it might also be had while looking at landscapes from a great height – such as a mountain range. Commercial pilots flying at high altitudes have experienced similar phenomena.</p> <p>And for those considering a Virgin Galactic flight, there are no guarantees. Many astronauts with long careers <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fcns0000086">report</a> never experiencing the Overview Effect.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/530799/original/file-20230608-27-brv39q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/530799/original/file-20230608-27-brv39q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530799/original/file-20230608-27-brv39q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530799/original/file-20230608-27-brv39q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530799/original/file-20230608-27-brv39q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=755&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530799/original/file-20230608-27-brv39q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=755&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530799/original/file-20230608-27-brv39q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=755&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="View of whole Earth photographed by the orbiting Apollo 17 mission and dubbed 'Blue Marble'" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Being able to see the whole Earth from space was regarded as a transformative moment, but people can have environmental epiphanies without flying into space.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.nasa.gov/content/blue-marble-image-of-the-earth-from-apollo-17">NASA/Apollo 17</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Environmental epiphanies happen on Earth</h2> <p>Spontaneous clarity about the importance of nature can occur while standing on solid ground. “<a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/26506666#:%7E:text=The%20working%20definition%20of%20Environmental,shifts%20in%20a%20meaningful%20manner.">Environmental epiphanies</a>” are well documented and have no connection to specific religious or cultural beliefs.</p> <p>Involving profound emotions and sudden awareness similar to the Overview Effect, environmental epiphanies can be accessed for free in mundane locations – such as reading a book at home.</p> <p>And, like the Overview Effect, environmental epiphanies can lead to lasting change.</p> <p>As space tourism continues to “take off”, misaligned marketing tactics like Virgin Galactic’s promotion of the Overview Effect must be scrutinised.</p> <p>Being launched into space – and the massive pollution the process creates – isn’t necessary for us to want to sustain our Earth.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206868/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ariane-moore-1060920">Ariane Moore</a>, PhD Candidate in Philosophy, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/virgin-galactics-use-of-the-overview-effect-to-promote-space-tourism-is-a-terrible-irony-206868">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Australia’s “most boring state” is making waves

<p dir="ltr">The South Australian Tourism Commission is in hot water with its own shadow minister after forking out the funds for influencers to come visit the state, only to have them dub it Australia’s “most boring state”. </p> <p dir="ltr">It was an interesting take, but not necessarily one that was all too surprising - it’s a long-running joke plaguing the state, and the content produced by the Tiktokers has been defended as both intentional and ironic.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Shadow tourism minister Jing Lee does not share that opinion, demanding to know “who has chosen them, why they are here, [and] how they have been selected.”</p> <p dir="ltr">7News have also reported that the opposition are calling for the campaign’s cost to be made public. </p> <p dir="ltr">South Australia’s tourism organisation put their plan into motion in 2022 when they invited 12 social media influencers with millions of followers between them on a fully funded trip to the state. </p> <p dir="ltr">Their itinerary was reportedly designed to highlight “the very best that SA has to offer”, from its “raw beauty” to its “culinary delights”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“What we’re trying to do is demonstrate that people’s perception of Adelaide is patently wrong,” South Australia’s treasurer Stephen Mullighan explained. “That was the whole idea behind it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Many of the videos that came from the campaign run with captions declaring it to be “the most boring state ever”, or with the influencers asking their followers if they were ready to run amok with them. </p> <p dir="ltr">No matter which tagline the Tiktokers ran with, the content they produced all contained the same hidden message: South Australia was not such a ‘boring’ getaway after all. </p> <p dir="ltr">The clips they featured painted a positive picture of the state, showcasing everything from dolphin cruises to wineries, spectacular dining experiences, and an oyster farm. </p> <p dir="ltr">And as SATC have been happy to report, the campaign has been viewed over 5 million times across TikTok.</p> <p dir="ltr">It still wasn’t enough for Jing Lee, who shared her belief that “the Labor government has an obsession with influencers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But Stephen Mullighan had his own thoughts on the matter - and more specifically, one of the opposition’s previous attempts at a tourism campaign. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We’re certainly not going to get lectured to by Jing Lee, John Gardner, and the Liberals,” he said, “who were of course responsible for the most humiliating tourism campaign [the 2019 ‘Old Mate’ campaign] that’s been rolled out in our nation’s history in recent times.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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