Record numbers of tourists across the United States are beginning to negatively affect the lives of the everyday citizens despite boosting the local economy.
Business in the United States has gone full circle from no tourism in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to an excess that is now becoming a burden.
According to hospitality expert Lionel Saul, the recent surge in tourists can be traced back to the rise of short-term rentals on Air B&B, budget airline tickets, and long-term cruise ship vacations.
Yet, another expert, Tatyana Tsukanova, claims that online influencers, social media, television shows, and movies bring enormous amounts of people to single regions. She said, “They just come, take a nice selfie, publish them on social media, increase the popularity of this place, and leave.”
However, it’s unlikely that the amount of tourists will drop anytime soon. According to the United Nations, the world population may reach as much as 8.5 billion people by 2030. This means there could be as many as an additional 50 million tourists in the United States over the next decade, which may be more than some places can handle.
Various cities in the United States may begin to implement specific tourist laws in a similar fashion to other popular tourist destinations around the world. Places such as Machu Picchu in Peru, Borobudur in Indonesia, and even the Acropolis in Athens have all begun placing a cap on daily visitors.
Such a scenario may become necessary to ensure that many of the United States national parks and sites of interest don’t become overcrowded and begin to suffer as a result.
Another way in which local government and states could ensure their sites of interest are properly protected from tourists is by implementing certain fines or fees. Venice, a famous city in Italy, has begun doing precisely this.
Venice fines travelers for consuming food or drinks on the ground, swimming in the canals, or walking around in bikinis and swimwear. On top of this, they are preparing to implement a $5 fee for all daytrippers.
While we already see a charge to enter many national parks across the states, it’s possible the state governments may begin to implement a tourist fee on top of this to ensure facilities and park maintenance can keep up with the ever-increasing numbers.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for people who’d like to visit certain states and sites of natural beauty in the United States. The co-founder of Intrepid Travel, Darrell Wade, suggests that tourism must evolve and become regenerative.
He said, “One of the problems with tourism at the moment is that it is the opposite of regenerative. It’s extractive, and this cannot continue for much longer.”
As it stands, tourism experts will agree that charging visitors a fee to enjoy the sites of natural beauty across America ensures a pleasant experience. As the global population continues to travel to the United States, the extra income from tourist fees will ensure that tourist destinations are around for future generations.