The Peak of Overtourism?

You may have seen the reports in the news this week of the number of climbers who have died on Everest so far this season.  Sadly, according to the reports the numbers are up on last year.

But it’s the photos that have accompanied these stories which are beyond belief.

There are queues…literally queues to summit and descend Everest! And people are dying because of it.

If that isn’t an example of overtourism to the extreme I don’t know what is!

This issue is of course not confined to the mountains of Nepal, it is a wide spread epidemic across the world. More people than ever have the means and opportunity to travel and the world’s hot spots (and beyond) are struggling to shoulder the burden.

But these photos of Everest really shocked me.  I do understand that there is a very small window of opportunity for climbers to reach the summit during the year, but I never imagined that there would be queues.  You don’t imagine that to reach the peak of the world you would have to wait in line!

It is however apparently not an entirely new phenomenon, but it seems acutely worse this year due to the number of permits issued to climbers and the weather which will always play its part.

However, to me, the photo which has been circulated depicting the queue to the summit, highlights the issue of overtourism that we are facing not just for Everest, but also for the rest of the world.

Decisions such as building an airport at Machu Picchu need to be reassessed surely? I don’t know exactly what the answers are, but as the numbers of tourists continue to rise and the pressure on local communities and the environment increases, it is something that will have to be tackled and we should all be mindful of when we travel.

Have you noticed this phenomenon on any of your trips, or perhaps where you live?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “The Peak of Overtourism?

  1. Yes, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And of the fact that I wish everyine would stop traveling so much because we are ruining the planet, killing the environment. It’s funny because I used to live for travel, worked in the airline business and loved it. But after having kids, my perspective changed. And it’s completely gotten out if control!

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    1. I can totally understand. It’s the little ones who are going to inherit whatever we leave behind! I am very conflicted, I love to travel and there is so much I want to do and see, but I can also see the damage we are inflicting in doing so.

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  2. That photo was absolutely astounding wasn’t it? You just can’t believe that so many people get to the top of Everest. This sort of thing is happening to so many places but it’s difficult to criticise the tourists as they are only doing what has always been done. The local organisations need to control numbers much more. The Great Barrier Reef and Grand canyon are also starting to suffer in the same way I think. Sad.

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    1. I know, it was wasn’t it, unbelievable that overcrowding has reached the mountains! I do agree that there needs to be more regulation on numbers and visitors to some places. I am actually put off visiting places now if I know they are going to be overrun. But there are some places that are busy for a reason and that I’d love to visit (such as Venice or the Great Barrier Reef), but then I feel like I am just contributing to the problem. Management of numbers seems like the only option! I do try to look for places that are quieter, but then aren’t we just shifting the problem as those places will end up becoming busier? It’s such a tricky issue. I do agree that organisations and governments need to take some control and responsibility in managing this problem.

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  3. So here’s the thing – in order to actually climb Mt. Everest, you need to train and prepare. I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to just decide on doing the climb today and go tomorrow. While there are certain spots more attainable, not many can get to the top top, so the photos confuse me a little. But I certainly understand the issue behind it.

    First of all, I avoid the places that are “trendy” in a given moment. That has always made me uneasy. I understand that touristy places will be crowded, but I like to keep it to a minimum. I like to get off the beaten path. AND when I see crowds and lines, I get in and out fast. Others, stand around, block access (and exit), take a million photos, ruin monuments, etc. We need to be more mindful of the sites and one another.

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    1. I couldn’t agree more that ‘we need to be more mindful of the sites and one another’, very well put! Like you I try to keep visiting places with crowds and lines to a minimum, but if I am somewhere that is busy (like Angkor Wat for example) and I do want to take photos, I am always mindful that there are others around who would like to do that too. I saw plenty of people there who weren’t – one lady was actually shoo-ing people out of the way in quite a rude fashion everywhere she went so that she could get her shots!

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      1. Yup.
        I don’t remember if you’ve been to the Blue Mountains. I THINK you did, but I’m not sure.
        While exploring, we came across Katoomba Falls and we wanted to take a photo. We got there around the same time two or three other people did. But a couple was already shooting. We thought it would be a quick one. Well, no. They had a tripod placed and the girl was taking a million poses. The tripod was being moved to make sure the photographer catches all the angles. We waited. And then waited some more. If I was doing a full photo shoot, I’d let others snap a quick photo in between. But that couple did not care. The strangers and us ended up laughing in the end, because we literally posed, took a photo and were on our way. And so did everyone that approached the site with us. And the couple was still packing things after we were long gone.

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  4. I was shocked too when I saw this photo. It’s such a tricky question as I love to travel but see the damage that over-tourism inflicts. It will only get worse with huge emerging middle-class travel among many populous Asian countries…don’t get me wrong, they have every right to travel. Stricter regulations at all government levels (that are enforced) are desperately needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree, there needs to be regulation to try to restrict the damage to all involved and the environment. I know what you mean, I am conflicted about it too as I love to travel. It’s difficult, but I hope that something can be done in the not too distant future.

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