TTC Special: Misbehavior Tourist Codes

Machu Pichu, Cuzco, Perú. Photo: Pixabay/martythelewis

By Frank Martin

A universal desire that nations share is for tourism to develop more and more, although they discreetly try to avoid as much as possible those “vacationers” who tend to display bad behavior during their visits.

The reasons why states from all over the planet coincide with the desire for tourists to arrive are obvious.

The statistics prove it: According to the World Tourism Organization, in 2022, at the end of the long pandemic, nearly 965 million international tourist arrivals were registered.

The tourism industry is responsible for the creation of more than 290 million jobs, both direct and indirect. Its contribution to global GDP exceeded seven trillion US dollars in the last year.

However, the tourism industry, still involved in recovery tasks in the final months of 2023, encourages special care in preventing the increase in people who tend to adopt “bad behavior” when they undertake their holiday trips.

Along with a wave of measures to increase arrivals, more rules have emerged in destinations around the world to combat such disruptors.

For example, according to data about Spain published on the Internet, the European country was the second most popular country in Europe to visit in 2022 after France, attracting 71.66 million visitors.

Everything seems to indicate that this brought financial joy to the Iberian country but also some concerns.

Barcelona welcomed 12.4 million visitors in 2022. Among its decisions was to ban the development of new hotels in the city center and restrict short-term room rentals, including the closure of around 8,000 unlicensed tourist apartments. Thus he began to impose discipline “at home.”

Other widely visited places in the world have already taken measures for some time.

In Peru, for example, the entity “Tour in Peru” explains in its usual promotion that “it strives to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience, as well as being comfortable and safe.”

And it has announced a tourist code of conduct.

Among the measures advised to holiday visitors are to “know in advance the basics about the culture of the country you are visiting” which, he says, “will help you have a clear idea of what to expect and enjoy and “to have a much more satisfying and enriching experience.”

The code asks, among other courteous behaviors, to help preserve heritage, understand cultural differences, and be open to other lifestyles and experience them in order to enrich your experience.”

Regarding the economy, it calls for buying crafts from the places you visit, avoiding counterfeit products and taking care of the environment.

It also asks visitors to never throw garbage on the floor or in inappropriate places and to follow procedures to avoid environmental contamination with disposable plastics.

For its part, the World Tourism Organization launched a code with the title of Tourist Carrying Capacity (CCT) that defines how organizers must adapt “the maximum number of people who can visit a tourist destination at the same time, without causing destruction of the physical, economic and social environment”.

A widespread warning is that the behavior of tourists can determine that of the local population that receives them.

A so-called Doxey irritation index, an academic theory, draws attention to the general feelings of the native population towards tourism.

Such an index mentions several stages:

Stage 1 Euphoria: Locals are curious and interested in tourists, tourists are welcome in the destination and locals are excited about their presence.

Stage 2 Apathy: As numbers grow, apathy sets in and tourists are taken for granted, the relationship between locals and tourists becomes more formal and locals become indifferent towards tourists.

Irritation Stage 3: As the number of tourists reaches peak saturation level and is expected to be higher, locals worry about price gouging, crime, and interference with their cultural life by the presence of tourists. . Tourists are seen as an irritation or nuisance.

Stage 4 Hostility: Locals become antagonistic towards tourists, blaming them for everything bad in local society and environment, they become hostile towards tourists and seek to take measures to stop them.

Industry specialists do not believe that following guidelines to avoid these problems can harm global tourism, so needed by most national economies.

The codes that emerge try to disseminate, with discretion, behaviors that avoid impacts on the education that is predominant in the destinations, such as the practice of inappropriate behaviors such as tendencies toward drunkenness and other social or frankly antisocial practices.