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Too many “new tourists” in Europe?


Tourist hotspots are crowded with new visitors
Europe is straining to cope with crowds of new tourists. In cities like Rome, Venice, even Athens in the middle of a financial crisis, it is possible to hear people speaking languages that have rarely been heard there before.
There is no longer a “typical tourist”. Brazilians sip aperitivi in a bar close to Rome’s Spanish Steps. Koreans flock to admire the glories of Versailles, Kenyans enjoy the art in the Uffizi. People from all over the world are arriving in steadily mounting numbers.
That brings a flood of environmental challenges, as well as issues related to equity and discrimination. The behaviour of some new travellers may take some getting used to. In Thailand earlier this year there was outrage when a Chinese tourist rang and then kicked the bells of a 14th-century temple in Chiang Mai.
But Europeans do outrageous things too. Italian tourists wandered naked through the streets of Barcelona, a British woman was arrested in Malaysia for posing naked on a sacred mountain, a Bulgarian fined for etching his initials into the Colosseum.
But, as the UNWTO and the travel trade stress, on the whole tourism generates jobs, prosperity and mutual understanding – something that is as important for the cash-strapped countries of the Mediterranean as anywhere else.
The Guardian


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