Tuesday, 18 June 2019

THinking about tourism.

The weather here continues to be unsettled. Hardly June weather at all. Facebook threw up for me a picture from three years ago when a friend and I took the boat trip to the Islas Cíes, just outside Vigo Bay. It was a fine sunny day but rather windy and cool - again, not really June weather. In fact my friend, who is a little “friolera”, as they say here, which means she feels the cold, had come prepared for summer and borrowed jumpers from me and demanded extra bedding. Her cold feet prevented her from sleeping. I understand how she felt!

All of this could, of course, be simply Galicia’s normal climate variations. This is the north of Spain after all but it is pretty much on the same latitude as the south of France and so it is not unreasonable to expect a bit of summer warmth. And then it could all be due to climate change! After all, France has had odd weather too:-

“France will declare a state of natural disaster after rain and hail storms lashed a swathe of the south-east on Saturday, devastating crops. The flash storms, which brought hailstones as big as pingpong balls to some areas, killed two people in France and Switzerland, and injured at least 10 others

The hailstones smashed car windscreens and also damaged homes, schools and public buildings. Several trees fell on train lines and fire and emergency services struggled to deal with smashed roofs. More than 2,000 homes were without electricity on Sunday.”

There you go!

I have been rereading one of Donna Lean’s detective stories with Commissario Guido Brunetti set in Venice. We’ve been reading about this detective for years, watching him and his city grow older and change. This story was published last year and Guido does a good deal deal of complaining about the overcrowding in Venice. He’s not talking about Venetians but about tourists. Shops that used to sell the everyday things a resident of the city might need now sell tourist tat, and not even genuine Venetian artisan tourist tat but carnival masks imported from China. And I read recently that there had been an incident/accident with a cruise ship in the Grand Canal.

The whole thing has got rather out of hand. They are having to police the Trevi Fountain in Rome to prevent the mass of tourists paddling in the basin. Barcelona has had protests about tourists and in particular air b&b pricing locals out of accommodation in the city. Bruges is the latest place to take measures to restrict the number of tourists entering the city.

And the tourist industry ploughs on, determinedly advertising and sending tourists all over the place. And of course, we all want to visit these faraway and exotic places.

I feel quite glad that we have seen Venice and Rome and Florence and Barcelona and Madrid and Sevilla before the tourist boom went exponential. There are places we still have not visited that we would really like to go to. Have we missed the boat? If we go there now, will we not be contributing to the tourist-overcrowding problem?

It’s a 21st century problem. Maybe it needs a 21sr century solution. They keep telling us we need to cut down on the number of flights we do. Maybe someone needs to work on the holographic tourist industry - develop the technology so that virtual visits to Venice become truly possible.

And only the very rich will be able continue enjoying real-life tourist delights!


  1. I don't know if you've heard the news; Andrea Camilleri is in critical condition in a Rome hospital after having suffered a heart attack. I fear we've come to the end of Inspectore Montalbano.

  2. I hope he recovers but he is rather old. SOmeone told me he has already written a story involving the death of Commissario Montalbano - to be published and fimed after his own death.