Combine the power of social media with popular culture phenomena and you’ve got a recipe for over-tourism. Whether it is Instagram users seeking the perfect selfie at a tulip farm in California or the actual beach that inspired The Beach, the attention created by this combo is more bust than boom for many destinations.
An Alpine village named Hallstatt is the latest victim. Seated in Austria’s Salzkammergut mountains in Gmunden district. It is a quaint collection of classic Swiss style surrounded by snowy mountains and kissed by crystal water. It is literally something straight out of a fairytale. But dumped right onto your social media feed.
The population of the town is a mere 780 persons, but tourist numbers reportedly reach ten thousand visitors a day sometimes. Beyond Hallstatt generally being a place a selfie-obsessed traveler would want to indulge their vanity it is also rumored to have inspired Arendelle, the name of the setting to Disney’s incredibly popular Frozen movies.
Tourism has so interrupted life in the village that some churches have even hired bouncers to stop visitors from interrupting the village’s religious services.
The Department of Transportation released figure stating that passengers paid 1.2 billion dollars in baggage fees just between July and December. Which is up about 10% from last year during the same period. Between April and June baggage fees reached their highest ever at $1.18 billion.
Some experts believe this is at least partially due to the popular rise of very basic economy fares. These fliers can’t use overhead bins, so if they show up and can’t stash their carry-on under the seat they get stuck with a fee.
American Airlines and United Airlines both have very basic fairs which allow only one small personal item on board. In addition to this, there have just been more fliers generally speaking, hopefully due to a healthy economy and lower fares overall.
Believe it or not the average passenger averages 3.15 pounds of waste before leaving an aircraft. The International Air Transport Association estimated 6.7 million tons of waste was created on aircraft last year.
Another study reported that 23% of trash is food and beverage that could safely be consumed. Everything from food packaging and cultry waste, mini travel sized item packaging, aireline pillows, disposable headphones, everything imaginable.
Furthermore, many countries safety and health regulations insist much of the waste that is recyclable be incinerated.
Qantas, Australian airline, finished its first no-waste flight in May. All the waste on the flight was recyclable, compostable, or reusable. About one thousand plastic items were traded out for greener ones such meal packaging made from sugar cane and cereal starch forks, knives and spoons. All of this was later collected by the crew including recyclable items passengers brought on board themselves.
The result? A decrease of 75 pounds in waste according to a normal flight. KLM, Dutch airline, has announced it wants to follow suit with the use of more biodegradable materials. And Air France by the end 2019 has promised to reduce their usage of plastic by 210 million pieces.
There are still many places where you cannot drink the tap water. Buying bottled water during a whole trip is obviously not very green, consider in investing in a water filter and you can create your own safe water right from the tap.
In many places choosing to eat locally over eating at familiar chains can save you money and save the planet as local, small businesses tend to be greener by nature. Also, you’ll get to experience much more of the culture and more of your money many stay in the local economy. Ask other tourists and hotel staff for recommendations.
Slow down your rate of travel, if you are on multi-destination adventure, many studies have shown that choosing passenger vehicle travel or trains for medium and long distances is far greener than jet setting.
Lastly, hang up that sign asking your room not to be serviced every day. Think of all the resources involved in cleaning the room and the linens, it is much more than the average person would use at home on a regular basis.
Happy, safe and greener travels!
To be sure, customs officials see some bizarre things in their line of work. However, an unexpected batch of hundreds of live tarantulas might be a new one.
A package shipped from Poland and opened by Philippines customs contained an amazing seven hundred and fifty seven live tarantulas hidden inside boxes of cookies and oatmeal that had been gift wrapped to conceal their creepy content. Of the five hundred some spiders, babies were found plastic vials with air holes while adults where in larger plastic containers.
The shipment was valued at bout $5,900 (that’s for the tarantulas, not the cookies) by the Philippine Bureau of Customs when they examined the contraband at a mail exchange center near the Manila airport. The Filipino man who came to claim his so-declared “collection items he was arrested on the spot.
This is not the first in a recent barrage of illegal wildlife smuggling in the Philippines. While the country requires permits to trade and possess such creatures as tarantulas, as one might suspect this doesn’t do much to stop persistent black-market traders. Reports of hundreds of incidents come just from Manila where larger and more exotic wildlife like iguanas, chameleons and bearded dragons are regularly found being smuggled illegally.
Probably one of the most iconic motel chains in America is Motel 6. But how did they start? Who invented them? And, frankly, what’s up with their name?
Paul Greene and William Becker were two contractors who had worked together on low-cost housing projects. They wanted to try their low-price handy-skills in another sector however—hospitality. Their goal was simple—build a motel chain that could unbelievably low prices, but that could still maintain a high profit margin.
Greene and Becker started the planning phase of what would become Motel 6 around 1960 and they originally wanted to charge the crazy-low rate of $4 a room. Through research they found out this price would be too low, still in the planning stages they raised the theoretical rate to $5 and eventually came up with the figure of $6 a room (you can probably see where this is going). In their figuration they found this rate was still low enough to attract guests (no kidding! Good luck finding a $60 room these days) and still pay for the land leases, building costs and operational costs like janitorial supplies and employees.
Their first motel opened just two years later in 1962 in Satna Barbara, California. And, wait for it, they named it Motel 6. But give some credit to Greene and Baker, the marketing is simple and direct. Customers know what it is and how much it costs all in a simple and easy to remember name: Motel 6. It probably even ranked as one of the best values in the would of hotels and motels at the time.
While that brilliant marketing isn’t as relevant now, the chain is still known to be affordable. And no motel chain in America, Motel 6 included, can boast a national flat room rate. In 2017 a room at the Motel 6 ran from about forty dollars a night in Oak Creek, Wisconsin to about one-hundred and fifty a night at a location in proximity to the Newark Liberty International Airport. $6 would have been worth about forty-eight dollars in 2017, so proportionally to inflation their prices are about the same.
Consider what some hotels charge these days, even at its most expensive, Motel 6 is still a pretty good deal.