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I've just returned from a week walking in the hills of northern Romania, two of us and a guide. We were met everywhere with kindness and hospitality, sometimes in very remote places. A tiny amount of Romanian went a very long way and got us deep into entertaining conversations about farming in our respective countries, the idiocy of Brexit and so on. Everyone we met was pleased to be photographed, when asked. On our last day we walked down into a village known for its distinctive vernacular architecture. We were sitting outside a bar when two large coaches drew up and disgorged crowds of visitors, mostly though not all Chinese. They looked like extras from Apocalypse Now, wearing flak jackets and festooned with cameras with enormously long lenses. They proceeded to spread out through the village, photographing everything and everyone without consent, leaning over fences to shoot people sitting in their gardens, poking cameras into windows - they even photographed us, for some unknown reason. They also casually dropped their rubbish, which we picked up and made them take away. It was a shocking and disturbing thing to see - and, speaking as a photographer, shaming. I don't know what the answer is, but that village and others like it will very soon lose its innocence. Later that evening in the same village I met two men returning from work. I greeted them and asked if I might take a photograph of them. I need hardly say that they refused.

 

Alex

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Posted (edited)

There was a time I spent a lot of time working for package tour companies and saw a lot of pretty poor behaviour. These were a far cry from seasoned travellers. They came to gawp and drink rather a lot. The boozing wasn't confined to Club 18-30. Then there was The BBQ outing. They were an eye-opener! The coach loads of Japanese were a little strange, but well behaved. The Germans were not liked a lot, but that was probably due to memories of WW2. That was some time ago and I hope we have moved on a bit. My only trip to Romania was very strange and was over in just under 24 hours. Planned that way. We were a group of 4 or 5 I think with two rent-a-cars. Traffic enforcers don't clamp your car, they just remove a tyre valve or two leaving the offenders stranded. But we had two cars so managed to make one of them mobile and abandon the other one. I bet the car hire company was not happy! one of the group was the local rep we left him to sort things. So I can't claim to have been a credit to Britain in respect to Romania.

Edited by Robert M Estall

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Posted (edited)

Mass tourism is a scourge. It has become the goose that promises to lay the golden egg. I can name many places that I loved to visit that have been ruined by armies of tourists and ensuing rampant development, and things promise to get even worse as millions of people on the planet become more affluent and can afford to travel and buy unnecessary lenses the size of rocket launchers. I think that governments should now require tour companies, especially those offering tours to isolated places, to offer mandatory cultural sensitivity training to would-be participants. It wouldn't solve all the other problems, of course, but it would at least be a step in the right direction. I'm kind of glad that I don't have the bucks to do much traveling these days. My "bucket list" now fits in a small tin can. 🙃

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Michael Ventura said:

Just saw this piece and this is sort of along the same lines.

 

 

https://www.diyphotography.net/photographers-instagrammers-stop-being-so-damn-selfish-and-disrespectful/

 

It can't get much worse than that. Or can it?

Edited by John Mitchell

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

Mass tourism is a scourge. It has become the goose that promises to lay the golden egg. I can name many places that I loved to visit that have been ruined by armies of tourists and ensuing rampant development, and things promise to get even worse as millions of people on the planet become more affluent and can afford to travel and buy unnecessary lenses the size of rocket launchers. I think that governments should now require tour companies, especially those offering tours to isolated places, to offer mandatory cultural sensitivity training to would-be participants. It wouldn't solve all the other problems, of course, but it would at least be a step in the right direction. I'm kind of glad that I don't have the bucks to do much traveling these days. My "bucket list" now fits in a small tin can. 🙃

 

 

 

That's why visiting Nicaragua now and going to the places where tourism is down by 95% (Rio San Juan area) is a good bet. :)  

 

Another expat who lived in Costa Rica and I once had an email exchange about the different types of people traveling in foreign lands.  The bulk tourists are vacationers who are mostly interested in relaxing for a week and who fairly much take the standard one or two people posed in front of some famous building.  There's another level of traveler who wants to bag places that are less commonly visited.  Then there are people whose interest is more anthropological -- how do these people live -- which tends to require knowing a good chunk of the other country's language(s) to begin to understand.  

 

Probably all of this is along a spectrum, but one of the annoyances in Appalachia were people who would not even look at any houses made of brick or the local Italian pizza place, but would home in on some weatherbeaten shack with a 1947 truck on cinderlblocks.   The looking at the foreigners as objects is another issue -- there was one photo of several white women photographing three small African children.  Thing made my skin crawl.  The similar thing here is the photo of a lovely poor five year old Nicaraguan girl in a ragged dress, or people washing clothes in a river to represent Boaco, a fairly prosperous town with stairs between the town's two levels. 

 

 

Edited by MizBrown

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14 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Just saw this piece and this is sort of along the same lines.

 

 

https://www.diyphotography.net/photographers-instagrammers-stop-being-so-damn-selfish-and-disrespectful/

 

Very good article.  The stories about the lavender fields reminds me of when I visited the tulip fields in Washington State a few years back.  Signs clearly said to stay out of the fields, and they even had hired someone to yell at people to get out of them, yet people kept going in to get their photos taken, of themselves, their whole families, etc.  So disrespectful.

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Mobs of tourists display a mob mentality. Here's one bus loud about to leave Galway. In my view, Americans are the worst . . . but none are attractive.

 

a-tour-groups-luggage-sits-on-the-lawn-a

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Back in 2014 Jackie and I were on holiday in the Cotswolds and while there someone we got talking to suggested we visit Bibury as it was/is a pretty little village and I would get some nice photos there. We set off one morning and arrived at a reasonably early time whereupon we had a walk around this really beautiful part of the country. As we toured the area I was taking some photos and happened to notice some signs at the front of peoples houses which appeared to be in Japanese and Chinese as well as English. The signs "in English as my Japanese and Chinese is non-existent in the written word" read things like "Please keep out of my garden" and other similar phrases. The reason for this became apparent around late morning to midday when about six or seven trip buses pulled into various parking areas and hordes of foreign tourist tumble out of them to go screaming around the village barging in front of genuine thoughtful photographers like me and even pushing us aside.

 

Although I was very very very very annoyed with their actions I sighed and gave up on getting any more decent pictures without a pack of tourists in them. It was at that point we went for lunch. Unfortunately the tourists were still there when we had finished so we left the area.

 

No I did not photograph the notices or the foreign tourists but in hindsight wish I had as they would probably have sold.

 

Allan

 

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12 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

I did not photograph the notices or the foreign tourists but in hindsight wish I had as they would probably have sold.

 

Yes, that's the 'story'. And, talking of Bibury, see what happens when a yellow car 'spoils the view'...

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1 hour ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Back in 2014 Jackie and I were on holiday in the Cotswolds and while there someone we got talking to suggested we visit Bibury as it was/is a pretty little village and I would get some nice photos there. We set off one morning and arrived at a reasonably early time whereupon we had a walk around this really beautiful part of the country. As we toured the area I was taking some photos and happened to notice some signs at the front of peoples houses which appeared to be in Japanese and Chinese as well as English. The signs "in English as my Japanese and Chinese is non-existent in the written word" read things like "Please keep out of my garden" and other similar phrases. The reason for this became apparent around late morning to midday when about six or seven trip buses pulled into various parking areas and hordes of foreign tourist tumble out of them to go screaming around the village barging in front of genuine thoughtful photographers like me and even pushing us aside.

 

Although I was very very very very annoyed with their actions I sighed and gave up on getting any more decent pictures without a pack of tourists in them. It was at that point we went for lunch. Unfortunately the tourists were still there when we had finished so we left the area.

 

No I did not photograph the notices or the foreign tourists but in hindsight wish I had as they would probably have sold.

 

Allan

 

 

I think the Chinese and Japanese tourists are the worst in my experience. I too have had a similar thing happen to me where I was almost barged out of the way, and the worst was where I was about to take a photo from a good position and a Chinese or Japanese tourist just stepped in front of me as I was about to press the shutter!

 

I'm sure us Brits don't have a good reputation abroad though!

 

John.

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Another down side to the barrage of tourists, especially in delveloping countries, is the expectation to pay for access or the ability to photograph people.  I have encountered this in Egypt, the Caribbean and elsewhere .   If I, so much as, lifted my camera to my eye, there would someone with their hand out wanting cash.  I do get the desperation some people have with the lack of a source of income but it has made it difficult and not so fun to shoot in those places.  Many years ago, I was in the Caribbean with a girlfriend and she snapped a photo of a produce stand...no people in the photo, and a man ran up and grabbed her arm tightly and demanded cash, saying it was his sister’s stall.  I quickly gave him some change in my pocket to diffuse the situation but it left her really rattled.   I am not sure what the solution is for this but try not to pay for photo access as I think it only makes it all worse in the long run.  But I probably would do the same thing if I were in their shoes (or lack of shoes).

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1 minute ago, Michael Ventura said:

I am not sure what the solution is

 

One 'solution', I suppose, is the fact that locals, not tourists' are supplying the market with pix. Stock photography can be a democratising activity...

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6 minutes ago, Michael Ventura said:

<>

with their hand out wanting cash.

<>

 

I give money only for a service. No beggars or con men. But small bribes otoh are ok 😜.

 

This is the culprit of it all (not the photo fee, but the overtourism):

3; 10; 20; 24; 47; 100; 1001 Places to see before you die.

Plus books & magazines.

And aren't we proud when one of ours is featured? 😳

 

wim

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I was doing a week's teaching at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague a few years ago and had a free hour or two so went for a stroll to the Mauritshuis museum to look at the Vermeers. I was pretty much alone when I went into the room with the 'Girl with the Pearl Earring' when a coach load of Japanese tourists charged up the stairs, pushed me en masse out of the way and all scrambled to take pictures with phones and iPads held up. Not one of them really looked at the painting properly and once they had all finished snapping, about two minutes, if that,  they all charged down the stairs again. presumably to get on the coach to the next stop on the 'hit list'. The rest of the museum and its wonderful collection were ignored. Luckily for me as I and the other visitors were then left in peace to take in the rest of the work there. 

Pete Davis

https://www.pete-davis-photography.com/

http://peteslandscape.blogspot.com/

https://www.instagram.com/petedavisphoto/

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22 minutes ago, Dyn Llun said:

I went into the room with the 'Girl with the Pearl Earring'

Its the same in the Louvre - the Mona Lisa is mobbed but the rest of the gallery  is empty. I took a few shots of people selfy-ing in front of it and they do well. Same for the Venus de Milo - packed with people, yet just next door is a much lovelier sculpture The Three Graces. Its all a bit pathetic really. And ni my own experience I agree that a busload of chinese is the worst. 

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Posted (edited)

I attended a day conference at the Royal Geographical Society about tourism in the early 1990s. Tony Stone was there showing some of his library's fantastic stock photos of travel destinations. I remember that there was also a talk and slide show by Charlie Waite - I bought a signed copy of his book. Also some representatives from an organisation which I think was called Tourism Aware and they made some quite telling points about how stock photography was implicitly involved in the promotion of tourism and its associated effects. The pictures shown by Tony Stone of some untouched tropical island paradise were mentioned as examples of how tourism always looks for the next new destination to 'trash'.

 

What I thought I noticed the other day at Stonehenge was how many people seemed not to really know where they were -  a destination on some sort of itinerary and to me many seemed to be coming away underwhelmed. 

 

I have had similar experiences to those mentioned about massed groups of tourists.  

 

So maybe we do need to reflect a little on our own contribution to mass tourism?

Edited by geogphotos

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3 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I bought a singed copy of his book

 

Was it a fire sale??

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10 minutes ago, John Morrison said:

 

Was it a fire sale??

 

 

Very good!

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3 hours ago, Stokie said:

 

I think the Chinese and Japanese tourists are the worst in my experience. I too have had a similar thing happen to me where I was almost barged out of the way, and the worst was where I was about to take a photo from a good position and a Chinese or Japanese tourist just stepped in front of me as I was about to press the shutter!

 

I'm sure us Brits don't have a good reputation abroad though!

 

John.

 

 

interesting, i have found the Koreans to be much worse than the Japanese in most case.  They were horrible with the Monks in Luang Prabang getting straight to their face to get the shot

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2 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Another down side to the barrage of tourists, especially in delveloping countries, is the expectation to pay for access or the ability to photograph people.  I have encountered this in Egypt, the Caribbean and elsewhere .   If I, so much as, lifted my camera to my eye, there would someone with their hand out wanting cash.  I do get the desperation some people have with the lack of a source of income but it has made it difficult and not so fun to shoot in those places.  Many years ago, I was in the Caribbean with a girlfriend and she snapped a photo of a produce stand...no people in the photo, and a man ran up and grabbed her arm tightly and demanded cash, saying it was his sister’s stall.  I quickly gave him some change in my pocket to diffuse the situation but it left her really rattled.   I am not sure what the solution is for this but try not to pay for photo access as I think it only makes it all worse in the long run.  But I probably would do the same thing if I were in their shoes (or lack of shoes).

 

 

yes, i find it is getting worse.    I remember in tibet the Yak owners asking money for the pictures i took of their beast.

 

i've actually gone to review screen and pressed delete to the photo in front of them, saying, oh well,  no photo now, no money many times.  

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Hi everyone - I think we can all agree that at certain times, certain pockets of tourists can cause frustrations for the seasoned stock photographer and the general public. That said, we'd appreciate it if you could all refrain from making sweeping national generalisations in the way certain groups behave based on their country of origin. 

 

Many thanks

 

Alamy

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Here's the madhouse scene I shot of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, even before the phone selfies had taken off.  

 

France Paris  Louvre museum art gallery  Mona Lisa room crowds of tourists try to see the famous painting Stock Photo

 

Had an assignment from a national U.S. magazine shooting a story on the Grenadines in the West Indies and when I approached a model boat builder to take his photo with his model boats, he wanted  something like $150 first.  I explained that this photo could bring him a lot of business but he still wanted cash in hand.  I walked away.

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7 hours ago, John Morrison said:

 

Yes, that's the 'story'. And, talking of Bibury, see what happens when a yellow car 'spoils the view'...

 

Yes saw that some time ago, not long after it happened.

 

Allan

 

 

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Unfortunately, photography has been a

4 hours ago, geogphotos said:

So maybe we do need to reflect a little on our own contribution to mass tourism?

 

Photography has done a lot to change the nature of travel. People used to travel to see new sights, now they often go places -- often en-masse -- just to verify the existence of what they've already seen in "stunning" travel images. So I suppose most of us are complicit to some extent.

 

Hmmm... that headgear looks familiar. 😏

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