This is worth reflecting upon

Posted on March 16, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Bill Geist’s Zeitgeist: Why We Do What We Do

describes what should be the essence of travel. It’s about the authentic experiences that at least seem to be harder to find these days. I remember the wise words of the man who hired me thirty odd years ago. Dr. Werner Kaempfen, the then head of Switzerland’s national tourist board who back in the 1970’s coined the phrase that “tourism can destroy tourism” if we’re not careful. This was in the days of a building boom to put a concrete condo on every mountain top in Switzerland and carve up the mountainsides for an ever increasing number of groomed ski slopes. Thanks in part to his warnings a lot of the worst scars were avoided and today the industry there is thankful for it. Today’s visitors wouldn’t want to spend their days in those ugly structures.

Let’s reflect on this as tourism is being developed and marketed. It hardly ever works long term, if the concerns of the host community are not considered. It is them in many cases who can offer that authenticity many travelers today are seeking. If they do find it, they will know they have arrived as Reyn Bownan, quoted in the post, so accurately puts it.

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