Why Your Vacation is Touring — Not Traveling

Will mass tourism end before it’s too late?

Photo by Ali Al-Sheiba on Unsplash

There’s a difference.

There’s a difference between traveling and running between destinations with a strict agenda.

Tourism is waiting in a two-hour-long queue to wade through a crowded museum. Traveling is exploring the streets of a foreign city without a map, eagerly seeking the next local to strike a conversation.

When I think of tourism, I think of moving around at a fast pace with the intention of having ‘bragging rights’. Touring is telling guests at your next dinner party, “I’ve been there” or “I’ve seen that”.

The tourism industry, as a whole, has improved living conditions in many parts of the world. The extra jobs and income helps those that do not have the industrial or economic system to do it on their own. But, it has also affected what some consider real traveling to be.

For those of us that prefer to travel rather than tour, we prefer the slower pace. The simplistic adventure that the world has to offer over adrenaline-pumping amusement parks.

We want to walk through the artisan shop or the small farmer’s market. Not only to see what delicacies it has but also to learn a thing or two as everyday life unfolds in front of us. To become knowledgeable about cultures that differ from our own.

However, the impact that tourism has on true traveler’s aspirations is threatening.

Tourism provides enough money to rid the golden destinations of these hidden gems. And replace them with industrialism.

In villages, towns, and cities that were once untouched secrets, you now see a McDonald’s on every corner. Just so tourists who are there for a week will not have to sacrifice their Quarter Pounder with fries to see the most beautiful places in the world.

That’s fine, but those McDonald’s are also replacing the small-town diners we love.

Think about that the next time you dig into your Quarter Pounder. . .

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