“The infrastructure simply doesn’t exist to support the number of visitors making the life of locals unpleasant in peak season, to say the least. Narrow lanes passing for roads and limited parking at some of the most popular sites combine to create gridlock, pollution and litter.”
How harmful can the tourist industry be to the areas it promotes?
In the first summer following lockdown, as reported by the Telegraph, the West Country faced the reality of ‘overtourism’:
Overtourism has taken another scalp in the South West, having already made the towns of Padstow and Salcombe unliveable for locals and turned the beaches of Cornwall into Benidorm with drizzle.
As of today, wild camping has been temporarily banned at a popular Dartmoor beauty spot. The draconian decision, announced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority on Wednesday, is a response to a dramatic rise in antisocial behaviour including dumping litter and disposable barbecues, abandoned tents and human waste. In recent weeks, following the easing of lockdown, there have been reports of large groups of campers, including 100 people at Holne Woods and 70 tents at Bellever in the centre of the park – close to 3,000-year-old Bronze Age hut circles. Fifty fire pits were counted along one stretch of riverbank.
The following summer, it only got worse:
We have been warning and warning of this. Anyone with any degree of sense could see this approaching. Cornwall is being both over marketed and inappropriately marketed and the Butler Model looms ever larger (attached – model applied to touristic outcomes devised by Professor Richard Butler)
This sort of over tourism is destroying Cornwall, its natural environment and causing a second homes crisis which together with Air Bnbs is making local people homeless. It is quite simply unsustainable.
Planning consent for visitor accommodation, restrictions on second homes including taxes and a stop to the registration of them as businesses, a tourism bed tax which is so common elsewhere are some of the solutions together with sensible marketing and democratically accountable tourism promotion which works with the resident population are but some of the solutions.
When will our elected representatives act?
And now Cornwall in particular has been singled out as a place which should be avoided by tourists – just to give it a break, as reported in today’s Express:
British tourists have been told not to visit Cornwall and several other holiday hotspots in a new travel list. Fodor’s ‘No’ list features 10 destinations that tourists should “reconsider visiting” in 2023.
Cornwall was listed in sixth place on the ‘no’ list and the publication advised tourists to look elsewhere for a holiday in 2023. The popular staycation destination made the list due to the strain that tourists can put on local residents, roads and the environment.
A pilot told Fodor’s: “The infrastructure simply doesn’t exist to support the number of visitors making the life of locals unpleasant in peak season, to say the least. Narrow lanes passing for roads and limited parking at some of the most popular sites in the county combine to create gridlock, pollution and litter.”
Cornwall’s residents have also complained of soaring house prices as second home ownership puts pressure on the market.