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Tourism Forum


Too Many Tourists?
Utah's Delicate Arch

You might like to have Utah’s Delicate Arch all to yourself...
Photograph by Robert Manning, University of Vermont; David Lime, University of Minnesota; and Wayne Freimund, University of Montana

In TRAVELER’s October feature story “Tourism Wars” our writer explains that travel and tourism have apparently become one the world’s largest industries. Swiftly increasing numbers of visitors are descending on attractive places all over the world.

All this traveling means we keep running into each other. Take U.S. parks, national forests, and other public lands, for instance. Land managers try to ensure that your visits will be pleasant, but they struggle to satisfy competing needs—snowmobilers versus cross-country skiers, wildlife-watchers versus hunters, and so on.

The hardest management problem is how to balance every citizen’s right to visit a place against the need to keep tourist traffic from ruining the experience or even the site itself. Techniques vary for controlling overcrowding and the environmental wear and tear it causes. None are perfect.

Utah's Delicate Arch

...but so would other people. More of them every year.

The Tourism Forum asks this month:
What is the fairest way to keep visitors from overwhelming a place?
1. Issue visitor permits by lottery
2. Implement a daily limit on a first-come, first-served basis
3. Raise entry fees enough to cut down on traffic
4. Restrict visitors to certain routes
5. Impose no limitations—right of access is more important than crowding

Do you have other ideas? Tell us.
Post Your Comments

—Jonathan Tourtellot

Jonathan Tourtellot is a TRAVELER senior editor and forum host.

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