Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

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Cavesa
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby Cavesa » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:36 pm

DaveBee wrote:
Cavesa wrote:When it comes to holidays, I think positive motivation should work, such as promotion of individual tourism. Airbnb is actually very a very valuable tool in this, not a parasite on hotels, cities should find a way to use this new kind of service instead of fighting it. Or promoting visits all over the year. For example making different taxes per night (common in some countries) depending on the month of the year. Or museums and monuments could have different prices too.
I think the argument against Airbnb is from local residents, who believe it's pushing up rental prices.

I agree with your point about the complaining overall though. If you want tourists money, you have to have the tourists too!


I've heard the same argument here in Prague, but it is absolute nonsense, because Airbnb is a tiny pebble compared to the phenomenon of rich foreigners buying their fifth or sixth appartements here in Prague. They are using it for a month a year or so, it is dead for the rest. And people participating in this profitable kind of business for such clients have been very actively fighting the original locals. Friends who used to live in Malá Strana (for those who don't know: the most overcrowded touristy part of Prague with lots of historical beauty) were telling terrible stories.

The prices are growing for various reasons, I'd say too few new appartments being built is a problem not only in Prague, but this problem is huge now. There is a lot of demand, the prices are growing because of it, but too little gets built because of constant problems at the municipality. There are lots and lots of factors in every city, but the demand is simply growing everywhere with or without Airbnb. London, Paris, Moscow all have gotten out of proportion with the prices. I highly doubt airbnb is likely to be the main cause.

So, no. Airbnb is not the problem, it appeared because of other problems. Such as horrible the price/quality ratio of hotels, people don't want to have their holidays burdened with problems. And the prices have grown considerably too. And airbnb is exactly giving people the experience of staying really in the city, not in the artificial atmosphere of a hotel. That is something to be promoted, the real experience instead of being given the usual circus.

Of course there are problems, but those are definitely solvable. Standard punishments for avoiding taxes. Tourists are loud in the night? Call the police or municipal police, I had to call them because of similar problems and there were no tourists involved, really, this happens. Just apply the regular rules on people, and they'll get used to it.

I think most cities are not trying to actively solve these challenges. At least not until it's too late. A city recognising the tourism problem only when graffitis and mass protests start appearing obviously isn't lead by the right people. Or a city not recognising the real estate prices problem, unless there is an easy target to blame, in this case Airbnb.

It's easy to blame airbnb. Especially some kinds of people tend to hate everyone making a profit on something. Some people here have even start calling for a ban of every other use of an apartment than permanent living of the owners. Those are the kind of people, who applauded, when everyone was being taken their property away in the 50's.
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby Adrianslont » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:29 pm

Serpent wrote:Haha why such negativity towards selfie sticks.

I was just about to say the same thing myself. I don’t own one (I have long arms) but I don’t see them as a problem - am I missing something, a good reason to be annoyed? (that is addressed to other people - not Serpent).

Sure, it can get annoying when lots of people are standing around taking photos but that’s mainly because I want to take a photo of the view, too (perhaps with me in it) - haha. People lingering and taking photos has become more of an issue with the advent of digital photography and then again with smartphones and their cameras (the expense of film meant fewer photos) - I think that is a bigger impact than the actual selfie stick.
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby Chung » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:48 pm

Cavesa wrote:
DaveBee wrote:
Cavesa wrote:When it comes to holidays, I think positive motivation should work, such as promotion of individual tourism. Airbnb is actually very a very valuable tool in this, not a parasite on hotels, cities should find a way to use this new kind of service instead of fighting it. Or promoting visits all over the year. For example making different taxes per night (common in some countries) depending on the month of the year. Or museums and monuments could have different prices too.
I think the argument against Airbnb is from local residents, who believe it's pushing up rental prices.

I agree with your point about the complaining overall though. If you want tourists money, you have to have the tourists too!


I've heard the same argument here in Prague, but it is absolute nonsense, because Airbnb is a tiny pebble compared to the phenomenon of rich foreigners buying their fifth or sixth appartements here in Prague. They are using it for a month a year or so, it is dead for the rest. And people participating in this profitable kind of business for such clients have been very actively fighting the original locals. Friends who used to live in Malá Strana (for those who don't know: the most overcrowded touristy part of Prague with lots of historical beauty) were telling terrible stories.

The prices are growing for various reasons, I'd say too few new appartments being built is a problem not only in Prague, but this problem is huge now. There is a lot of demand, the prices are growing because of it, but too little gets built because of constant problems at the municipality. There are lots and lots of factors in every city, but the demand is simply growing everywhere with or without Airbnb. London, Paris, Moscow all have gotten out of proportion with the prices. I highly doubt airbnb is likely to be the main cause.

So, no. Airbnb is not the problem, it appeared because of other problems. Such as horrible the price/quality ratio of hotels, people don't want to have their holidays burdened with problems. And the prices have grown considerably too. And airbnb is exactly giving people the experience of staying really in the city, not in the artificial atmosphere of a hotel. That is something to be promoted, the real experience instead of being given the usual circus.

Of course there are problems, but those are definitely solvable. Standard punishments for avoiding taxes. Tourists are loud in the night? Call the police or municipal police, I had to call them because of similar problems and there were no tourists involved, really, this happens. Just apply the regular rules on people, and they'll get used to it.

I think most cities are not trying to actively solve these challenges. At least not until it's too late. A city recognising the tourism problem only when graffitis and mass protests start appearing obviously isn't lead by the right people. Or a city not recognising the real estate prices problem, unless there is an easy target to blame, in this case Airbnb.

It's easy to blame airbnb. Especially some kinds of people tend to hate everyone making a profit on something. Some people here have even start calling for a ban of every other use of an apartment than permanent living of the owners. Those are the kind of people, who applauded, when everyone was being taken their property away in the 50's.


As a couchsurfer who's had to work ever harder over the years to make couchsurfing work, I have big problems with Airbnb. All that I will say on the relationship is that while money isn't the root of all evil, one of the evils that's killing Couchsurfing is money (there's also the degeneration of the site in some cities to be an alternative to Tinder for thirsty guys but that's a different story). I'll leave it at that.

When it comes to real estate bubbles and Airbnb, I only partially agree with you. While for some people Airbnb is indeed an important way for homeowners and tenants to make ends meet (then again, if anyone needs a carousel of very short-term boarders to keep him/herself financially afloat for any extended period in an overpriced city, I'd say that such people are in deeper trouble than they want to admit), Airbnb makes the problem of low vacancy worse. Moreover just like people wanting longer-term accommodation wouldn't want to stay in a hotel, how does it help when many potential landlords can turn their homes into unofficial hotels when wielding a short-term option like AirBnb? That basement suite that could have been leased by a student or working class family for 12 months for $700/month ($8400 for the 12 months as taxable income) is now on airBnB where the rate of $50/night (untaxed income may I add) is too tempting for the landlord-host to turn away (even if it's occupied just half of the time or 15 days per month, that host is ahead because that's $750/month untaxed).

I do think that more housing should be built where it's needed but high density isn't necessarily the way to do it (urban planners have a nasty habit of losing sight of the whole picture and forget that the inhabitants of these shiny apartment blocks/housing estates need infrastrucure, which in turn needs space that is usually hogged by the same housing that was just built). Call it xenophobia or not, but when you see enough outsiders or non-citizens buying homes (as opposed to summer cottages) as anchor properties where they're dark for at least two thirds of the year, it's no wonder a lot of these (local) people are less keen on globalization and outsiders than before (on top of the problem of tourist overflow in some places). The crowding out in big cities won't end well. I know of the problem with Prague as I've been hearing it a lot from my Czech friends there who've been increasingly priced out of the place and moving closer to the edge of town (or even to Kladno and Beroun).

This whole problem with tourists and the resultant stress on some places is just part of globalization and rising overall global wealth (never mind actual income inequality and the punchy but simplified dichotomy of 99% versus 1%). It doesn't take that much of an increase to personal income for travelling to grow. In addition to the growth of tourism from Russia, there have been planeloads of Chinese tourists jostling in queues beside the usual (stereotyped?) "rich" Westerners, who feed the growth of the cruise business, and traffic of flying cattle cars branded "Ryanair" and "Wizzair".
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby Serpent » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:03 am

Don't these rich foreigners rent out their flats while they're away, whether on airbnb or elsewhere?
When browsing the options I generally avoid the rooms or flats owned by (not necessarily rich) Russians, Britons, Americans etc :D
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby Cavesa » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:12 am

Chung wrote:When it comes to real estate bubbles and Airbnb, I only partially agree with you. While for some people Airbnb is indeed an important way for homeowners and tenants to make ends meet (then again, if anyone needs a carousel of very short-term boarders to keep him/herself financially afloat for any extended period in an overpriced city, I'd say that such people are in deeper trouble than they want to admit), Airbnb makes the problem of low vacancy worse. Moreover just like people wanting longer-term accommodation wouldn't want to stay in a hotel, how does it help when many potential landlords can turn their homes into unofficial hotels when wielding a short-term option like AirBnb? That basement suite that could have been leased by a student or working class family for 12 months for $700/month ($8400 for the 12 months as taxable inome) is now on airBnB where the rate of $50/night (untaxed income may I add) is too tempting for the landlord-host to turn away (even if it's occupied just half of the time or 15 days per month, that host is ahead because that's $750/month untaxed).

Airbnb was the solution for my 6 month long stay in Bordeaux. Why? because it didn't require 12 months of deposit (that is required even when you stay for shorter time, and it cannot be done as a forward payment. I would have had to to pay my six rents normally AND let 12 rents rot in the bank.) or a French citizen vouching for me. And don't forget that in a city with an already oversaturated market of flats for students, noone will prefer a foreigner with all this hassle to a native.

So I cannot agree. Airbnb is not necessarily pushing flats away from the mid-term renting market. It is filling a space in the system. It is a simple system. Not perfect of course. But a well working market wouldn't leave so much space for it.


I do think that more housing should be built where it's needed but high density isn't necessarily the way to do it (urban planners have a nasty habit of losing sight of the whole picture and forget that the inhabitants of these shiny apartment blocks/housing estates need infrastrucure, which in turn needs space that is usually hogged by the same housing that was just built). Call it xenophobia or not, but when you see enough outsiders or non-citizens buying homes (as opposed to summer cottages) as anchor properties where they're dark for at least two thirds of the year, it's no wonder a lot of these (local) people are less keen on globalization and outsiders than before (on top of the problem of tourist overflow in some places). The crowding out in big cities won't end well. I know of the problem with Prague as I've been hearing it a lot from my Czech friends there who've been increasingly priced out of the place and moving closer to the edge of town (or even to Kladno and Beroun).

Your czech friends may have forgotten to describe all the problems of the municipality preparing a long term development plan, and the building regulations. There is the problem. But I agree that it is not so in some other cities, perhaps Paris or Bordeaux or Barcelona are awesome at this, I can't tell.

Yes, the tiny appartments and high density are a problem. But airbnb is not to blame, and nothing can be done, at least not anything simple. As Prague is the practical example here, I'll add you may blame half Bohemia for immigrating en masse, we don't even need people coming from elsewhere to have this problem. Those small towns suck and fail to evolve. There have even been cases of very good projects in small towns being hated by the inhabitants and later refused by the town because "oh, such a thing doesn't belong to a small town". They prefer to commute for three hours a day to Prague, or to move there or to a satellite. I am not surprised they want to go to Prague, I wouldn't want to live in their home towns either. My mother comes from such a small town, my grandmother still lived there, so I know exactly why the people are doing everything possible to flee to Prague. Especially the younger ones.

It is not just about the immigrants from far away. There is little purpose in small towns and villages, when the agriculture and industry gets moved to other countries, or centralised. It's not just globalisation, it is modernisation and agriculture being more efficient then ever before. Therefore, the whole standard of living, the job market, services, (and the attitude of the people too) everything is just so much worse than in a large city. It is the worst for young people. More people than ever study at university. And what are they supposed to do with their degree in their home town? Put it on the wall and stay unemployed?

It is not just pricing the people out. Another strategy: you want to turn a building in a beautiful locality in those dark residencies and profit. You are lucky and can buy one apartment, great. But you need more. What to do? You get creative and make the daily lives of everyone else there as miserable as possible at any opportunity.


This whole problem with tourists and the resultant stress on some places is just part of globalization and rising overall global wealth (never mind actual income inequality and the punchy but simplified dichotomy of 99% versus 1%). It doesn't take that much of an increase to personal income for travelling to grow. In addition to the growth of tourism from Russia, there have been planeloads of Chinese tourists jostling in queues beside the usual (stereotyped?) "rich" Westerners, who feed the growth of the cruise business, and traffic of flying cattle cars branded "Ryanair" and "Wizzair".

One of our young politicians damaged his reputation greatly by suggesting that most people shouldn't go abroad for holidays, that it is not ecological and it is too much luxury. Well, I dislike most of his opinions, but this one got him really unpopular. Well, going abroad is one of the things making my life in a cold second rate country more bearable. So, I think trying to make the tourists feel guilty is never a good option.

But as I said, individual tourism should be more supported than the large organised crowds, those are the worst. Even if we look just at the european tourists, we can see that the EU is failing at promoting multilingualism. Otherwise, many more would go alone without the need for a guide knowing the language (the guides are usually horrible anyways, as they tend to know even less than a basic book. And why would anyone want to be orders and having their time hyperorganised even on a holiday?)

The chinese tourists are complicated. They are subject to many complaints even from the hotel owners, as the cultural differences translate as very poor behaviour here, including damages to the property. The russian tourists have their specifics too, but those are actually scarcer now, as the country is not exactly getting richer. Those are more likely to come for a permanent stay and job (and this is not just in the Czech Republic, they have numerous communities in may cities). But perhaps the european tourist destinations should focus on profiting from asia getting rich more wisely. For example by convincing people to come at various times of the year, not just the few most popular months.

Serpent wrote:Don't these rich foreigners rent out their flats while they're away, whether on airbnb or elsewhere?
When browsing the options I generally avoid the rooms or flats owned by (not necessarily rich) Russians, Britons, Americans etc :D

No, they don't.
Those from the middle class probably do. But the historical center is being sold to very rich people. If you can afford to have six flats all over the world, you can certainly afford not to rent them. I can't imagine a millionaire on airbnb.

Another problem: too many buildings are bing turned into administrative buildings, not apartments. For some reasons, those are more profitable. Again, this is something that could be addressed, the municipality could look of options to balance this better.
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby tarvos » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:00 pm

One of our young politicians damaged his reputation greatly by suggesting that most people shouldn't go abroad for holidays, that it is not ecological and it is too much luxury. Well, I dislike most of his opinions, but this one got him really unpopular. Well, going abroad is one of the things making my life in a cold second rate country more bearable. So, I think trying to make the tourists feel guilty is never a good option.


Taking those airplanes everywhere definitely isn't ecological, but you can always take a train to see most of the world. Scheduled ground transport! Life's a journey :)

But hey, I'm going to Brno, so...
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:41 pm

Cavesa wrote:I can't imagine a millionaire on airbnb.


There are actually some very pricey places on there.

I'll just leave this here:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/908350

And there is always VRBO.com for something a little more discerning.
https://www.vrbo.com/1026329
https://www.vrbo.com/8402705ha
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby Saim » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:57 am

Cavesa wrote:I am a bit divided on this matter. Yes, mass tourism is very damaging. But it takes such a role in the local economy, that some of the reactions we've seen lately look like a lot of ungratefulness. Like "we like your money, feel free to send it, but stay away"


Most locals do not own hotels, museums or restaurants so they don't really benefit that much from this; if anything they lose out due to the increasing price of rent. OK sure, there's employment opportunities -- but most people don't want precarious, seasonal work. People need reliable living wages.
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby Iversen » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:47 pm

Actually too many human beings are being turned into administrative beings (including consultants), and they take up space that could have been used for more relevant pürposes. As airbnb: i have not used it so far, but in several places including Bratislava I have been staying in apartments, and I have gotten much more for my money than in traditional hotels. I don't need swimmingpools or conference rooms, whereas a fridge is very relevant. If I get one in a standard hotel room it is a welcome surprise - especially if I can get it without the usual load of overpriced bottles. And I don#t need the service of a cleaning maid every day. As for space there is usually no comparison between hotel rooms and apartments. So I can understand if standard hotels feel the earth trembling under their feet ....

As for the amount of money I pump into the local economy: if I travel more I put more money into food and museums and apartments.

As for airplanes ... well I have never owned a car so I suppose I'm entitled to cause some airtravel pollution. And besides I don't have children so that won't pollute the world. My conscience is as cool and white as a lemon sorbet.
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Re: Oversaturated Tourist Destinations

Postby tarvos » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:58 pm

I have to say I agree with Iversen on this one, and I'm one of those people that have traversed the entirety of Russia by train, so...

I generally like going places that haven't been stuffed full of tourists such as Amsterdam (don't really feel like I need to go there anymore). The dirt under my shoes needs to be fresh. The only thing I leave behind the memories and my photographs.

And if we want to really be ecological: ditch that meat, fish, and preferably also dairy (guilty as charged :(). I don't own a car either, and it's unlikely I'll ever sprout babby.
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