Do you expect special treatment when you travel to foreign countries? Admit it now, it is a little frustrating when the direction and location signs are in a language you are not familiar with or, even worse, in an alphabet that is not the one you know.
Tourism is the number one industry in the world. Do you feel a little self-satisfied to be contributing to other countries' economies? London may not need your piddly contribution but other places in the world are very reliant on tourism for jobs and foreign currency. It is natural to want to feel welcomed, perhaps even a little appreciated. After all, you have emptied your savings accounts to be here, not to mention endured a lengthy and gruelling flight. It seems unfortunate that some admission prices are outrageous, not to mention the queues:
|The Louvre, Paris|
Suzanne Moore writes in the Guardian here that not only do some locations not love and embrace tourists, they downright dislike them, including you and me. But it must be other people who litter, engage in raucous yelling late at night, and generally behave badly. Besides, they're just having a little fun; isn't that what vacations are for? Probably they are only embarrassing themselves and will think better of the photographs when they get home and delete them from the Instagram account without delay.
In the months of July and August especially, traffic can become impossible and tourists driving rental cars down unfamiliar streets might cause frustration and annoyance without intending to. Rental housing disappears, lost to vacation by-the-night accommodation that nets the landlord considerably more by way of profits. Parisians have long had the custom of taking their vacation in the month of August, the better to leave the city to visitors.
Stonehenge had to resort to putting a wooden boardwalk some distance from the ancient stones. Some tourists wanted to take a piece of history away with them or at least leave their mark. Some places are considering limiting tourists. Are any of these on your bucket list?
Altogether, I am pleased I visited many places in Europe twenty-five years ago. Perhaps I beat the crowds.