Being less… “touristy”
12 November 2012
There is something I hear all the time, it is a term or statement about a particular destination. I meet so many travellers and tourists that moan and complain about how “touristy” some areas are now getting or trying to find a destination that is less “touristy” or this is a good one “I’m going here because it is apparently what **insert country name here** used to be like”. One thing that I find quite ironic about the situation at hand is that so many of these people are the folks that are ready, waiting and searching for a WiFi connection, waiting to eat a pizza and stay in their flashy hotels.
We are all searching for that perfect destination where we feel alienated and isolated or even distanced from the place we call home and more times than not we crave to be away from places that remind us of home, but at the same time we are naturally are drawn to places that make us feel more at home. Now many of these areas that are now “touristy” turned touristy for a very good reason, they clearly hold an attraction that is vastly appealing to the outside world and a broad range of people. Modern travel can find its roots back in the 60’s when the first generation of modern travellers emerged in the forms of hippies searching for enlightenment or a greater purpose in life, they found many areas of the world that had been forgotten or simply not discovered. Since then incomes have grown and the world has become more connected, ideas have been shared and knowledge published. Travel has become relatively simple and much of the world has been “done”. Due to this exponential increase in the tourism industry whole cities, towns and suburbs have built themselves on this money. It has led to rapid development in many areas, fuelling internet connections, guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, book stores, cafes you name it! You don’t have to do much research to realise that many people in developing continents like Asia realised that tourism is a money making machine that has very deep pockets, they realised this a long time ago. What is funny is that the bulk of the people that you find moaning and complaining about places being too “touristy” are found in these lesser-developed nations.
What I would really like to ask is that are these people actually really wanting something less “touristy” or is this just a saying that makes them sound “cool”? Well in my humble opinion I believe that the majority of these people aren’t actually that fussed on the fact that these destinations have become popular. One thing I have realised is that a large sum of the folk that demand, want or crave a non-touristic experience are very close-minded and to put simply not that adventurous to start with. To back up my claim I would first like to point out the fact that it really does not take long to get off the beaten path, well you might not be off the beaten path completely but you sure as hell will be away from what you self-proclaim to dread. All it takes is a little time for research, a fair amount of dedication and the balls to do something different. I see tourists with their iPhones walking around in the mountains asking the local staff if there is a WiFi connection or why there isn’t any hot water or that there should be more heating. Get a grip people. I think the 21st centuries advances in technology in regards to travel have done great things, but have also severely disconnected us from what travel is all about. Many of the destinations that have turned into tourist resorts or “traps” have done so due to such a high demand for the comforts that many of us take advantage of at home. Almost all people will say once in their life that they crave to be away and distanced from home, but yet when they arrive at a what was a “low-key” destination they start demanding or wanting those comforts that were once taken from granted. This therefore leads to a demand for these facilities. It doesn’t make sense, well not to me anyway.
Speaking from a personal perspective a destination “touristy” or not is what you individually make of it and if you are going to sit around and tell me that this place is too touristy or developed, why are you here? Find an alternative and believe me there are millions out there. They are however for the people that have drive, ambition and wish to move beyond their comfort zones. So find these attributes in yourself and go! It is similar to the old saying “seek and you shall find”. Travel is no different. If you do not seek you will never get your head out of the gutter. This is the way the world works and the tourism industry is no exception. People want comforts so comforts are delivered. It is time to move out of your comfort zone and begin to go back to the roots of what travel was all about self-discovery, experiencing alien cultures, exploring new landscapes and looking at the world in under a new light. Get off your ass and go find those places that are waiting to be personally discovered by you, because you are the only person that is in charge of what you consider to be “non-touristy”.