How do you travel?
Is a question I don’t often hear.
With 1 or 5 luggages?
A guide or free form?
A spree through all local restaurants
or perhaps a simple stay in your resort?
A question we should all ask ourselves,
do we travel responsibly?
do we travel consciously?
Do we acknowledge the culture surrounding us?
Do we make an effort, even the smallest of efforts, to integrate into a culture when being its guest?
Or are we ignorant, partaking in a massive homogenization?
In the summer of 2019, I went to Bali. In the Spring of 2019, I went to Morocco and it dawned upon me — in a perverse game of host and be hosted, whose at stake to adapt? Is anyone?
Since the 1950s, international tourism has skyrocketed and exploded in size, virtually overtaking our planet through economic recovery, real estate, jobs, airports, etc… The UN World Tourism Organization claimed that tourism generated more than $2.1tn in annual revenues and in many island nations and countries word wide, tourism acted(s) as the primary source of foreign exchange and employment.
Yet the objective downside of tourism ripples starting with technological connectivity to cheap travel. Tourists cause food, land, water and housing prices to increase at a rate linked with a steep decline in tourism operators’ margins. Thus, tourism does not directly lead to benefiting host communities.
But even moving past this, in the summer of 2019 as I was strolling through Ubud, I noticed an avalanche of tourists whom stuck out like sore thumbs; an avalanche of businesses privately owned by foreign investors; an avalanche of visitors taking mindless photos with “rocks” and offerings that they had no idea what they meant nor what cultural significance they held. In the summer of 2019, I noticed an avalanche and social media was a catalyzer.