It is said that a traveller sees what they see, whilst a tourist sees what they came to see. The tourism industry increases year on year at a 6% growth rate, but as of summer 2017 over-tourism gained international attention as local residents began to protest against the use and abuse of their cities by tourists across the globe from Dubrovnik to Barcelona and even as far as Iceland.
So, the question is: are you a tourist who is unknowingly adding to the problem of over-tourism or are you a traveller leaving a positive footprint on the places you visit?
Here are some travel experiences for you to choose between that will help you determine if you’re a tourist or traveller, inspired by the incredible European itineraries from Busabout.
A – So many amazing sights with so much history and only a few days to explore. Time for a guided walking tour of the city complete with your group’s own English-speaking guide who can tell you about all the amazing place you’re in. Lucky you have a guide so you can get the full experience of this city and pick up on trivia you can share back at home. It’s so busy this time of year which is a good sign as it must be the hot spot! You’ve got another tour of the Vatican to get to so you’ll have to skip getting an authentic experience with the locals.
B – Thank goodness you’re still jetlagged because the sun is up at 4am here and so are you. You and anyone you could convince to come with you the night before at the hostel bar are ready to experience the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Colosseum free of crowds. Then it’s onto a free walking tour around town to refresh your high school ancient history knowledge, pizza for lunch, possibly a siesta, and dinner at the local family restaurant around the corner because your hostel owner has let you in on the fact that this family knows how to serve up the best gnocchi in the entire city, hand rolled by Nonna each morning.
A – Continental breakfast at the hotel, then onto a walking tour of Paris with just enough time to get a couple of shots of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumphe, The Louvre before you check the next thing off on your social media hit list: Versailles for an afternoon walking the halls pretending you’re royalty with the day, then ending as you watch the Eiffel Tower come to life and sparkle once on the hour every hour. An exhausting day but now you can post all those photos you took at each beautiful location... and you’ve ticked off those incredible spots off the bucket list.
B – Breakfast in a local café, possibly a Pain au Chocolat because, hey, you’re on holiday, at a table facing the street - which costs extra in Paris, but definitely worth it! This brekky fuels you for a big day wandering the streets with your paper map from the hostel, you’ve dedicated your entire day to checking out the big attractions, so you can see what else you might stumble across on the way. May as well, they all seem to be as far away from each other as possible! Ending the day with sunset at Sacré-Cœur with some new friends and a bottle or two of wine.
A – You’re out and about early this morning because you’ve organised to be taken to all the best spots in town in an air-conditioned shuttle bus. And lucky you, you’ve paid a little extra to get entry into La Sagrada Familia, possibly the most beautiful church on earth, even though still 10 years away from completion. You finish up in the early arvo in the city, so you follow the crowds to the bustling but beautiful La Rambla for an afternoon of shopping the luxury brands on offer. After you drop all your new goodies back to the hotel, it’s still warm enough for a swim at the hotel pool before dinner at Pizza Circus, the top-rated Barcelona restaurant… oh it’s booked out!
B – There isn’t time to sleep this morning because Park Güell is free entry when you arrive before 7am and you’re willing to sacrifice your sleep-in to save a buck. This also means sunrise at one of Barcelona’s most beautiful locations before a day exploring everything from La Rambla to La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, the Gothic quarter and the Arco de Triunfo by bike. The day then winds down with an afternoon of watching a truly impressive beach volleyball competition on the sand with takeaway paella in hand before a night partying at Turó de la Rovira, a deserted Iberian settlement on a hilltop overlooking all of Barcelona.
Congratulations if you got mostly B’s you’re a traveller! A’s, it's never too late to change your travel habits, especially with the help of Busabout! Travel Europe on no more than a shoestring budget Busabout’s Unlimited Hop-On Hop-Off pass that allows you unlimited travel between May and October across 37 destinations as a true blue traveller.