Overtourism concerns me greatly because I’m a tourguide. I don’t want a backlash against tourists, just after coming off 16 months without work. We need work!
The professional tourist guides association GANYC, of which I’m a member, is concerned about hundreds of people at once — who don’t know each other exist — all converging on the Brooklyn Bridge or some restaurant that was in a movie, at exactly the same time! Residents of that Maui district are up in arms about the thousands of tourists who park in people’s yards, block traffic and buy all the food in roadside markets, leaving nothing for residents.
This can happen anywhere.
The below photo shows an estimated 20,000 people trying to get off the Brooklyn Bridge all at the same time. We tour guides understand that a group travels only as fast as its slowest member. We also are aware that a sudden loud noise may cause a stampede! One occurred in the summer of 2019 in Times Square. A motorcycle backfired. Hundreds of people ran in all directions at once.
If a motorcycle had backfired near this group, they could run only in one direction and people might get trampled. When tourists are hurt anywhere on Earth it’s bad for tourism anywhere on Earth.
So we have an overtourism committee that suggests walking customers over other less crowded bridges.
See the difference? Just 10 miles away is High Bridge in Upper Manhattan. It’s an easily walkable bridge with a flat grade, unlike the Brooklyn bridge which rises for about half a kilometer. Yet as you can see, only 3 or 4 people are walking it. Our job as guides is to get people off the Brooklyn bridge and onto High Bridge.
I feel bad for the people of that area of Maui, Hawaii. And the people of Venice and Amsterdam and Zagreb, all of which have been flooded by growing numbers of tourists. Understanding and respecting a native’s pride of place is crucial for tourists to behave like fellow human beings