hit-and-run tourism

The downsides of hit-and-run tourism

The number of people traveling around the world grows every year. With travel becoming more accessible and affordable to the masses, there’s an unspoken race to see as many places as possible. This is part of the reason why hit-and-run tourism has become so popular, but its effects are bad for travelers and the cities they visit.

What is hit-and-run tourism?

Hit-and-run tourism is particularly visible in cities that are generally seen as a “day trip” destination or that are stops on cruise routes. Hit-and-run tourists arrive in the morning and generally leave before nightfall, staying only long enough to see the city’s “top” sights. While this is a good way to visit a place without sacrificing too much time, hit-and-run tourism has major downsides for travelers in addition to being damaging to the local tourism industry. These are some of the ways in which hit-and-run tourism can negatively affect your holiday.

It creates congestion in the city’s top sites

Hit-and-run travel destinations tend to be some of the most congested, especially when it comes to the popular sites in town. That’s because if everyone is there for just a few hours, they probably don’t want to venture away from the “main things to see.” This means that what you’ll do there will be less enjoyable than the other undiscovered things to do around town that most people don’t have time to explore.

It’s more expensive and time-consuming

Unless you’re traveling on a cruise with prescribed stops, hit-and-run tourism generally means spending more money. It’s always more costly to pay for round-trip transportation from one city to another than it is to stay put. If you’re on a budget, this is money that is probably better spent on a good meal or a local museum. This also means you’ll spend more time in transit instead of on vacation. This is far less relaxing than spending a few days in the same place and taking in all the sights at your leisure.

You don’t get to truly experience the destination

The danger of traveling just to say you’ve been somewhere is that you can’t fully experience the destination or local culture. You only get to see whatever is near the port you just landed in for one afternoon. Sometimes this means making sacrifices and only doing the one or two things you have time for. You don’t get to see the nightlife, experience anything that may take more than a few hours, or even stop for a meal. Can you really even say you’ve “been” somewhere where you spent only two and a half hours?

Hit-and-run tourism hurts the cities you visit

Aside from severely short-changing yourself, by making a quick day trip to a particular city, you’re also hurting the destination. That’s because hit-and-run tourists don’t contribute much of anything to the local economy. They’re not staying at a hotel or renting a car. In some cases, they’re not even having a meal or a coffee; they’re just stopping to take photos and be on their way. For locals, the hordes of day trippers can be a nuisance, clogging up the streets and public transportation while contributing little to their city’s economic growth.

Even if it seems like that doesn’t affect you, consider the fact that when cities have the revenue, they also make traveling easier for you. That money goes toward informative signage, efficient public transportation, and more guides that are able and willing to speak your language and accommodate you as a tourist. In some cases, it might help the city improve basic systems like sanitation and water supply, leading to more accessible clean water. The infrastructure that healthy tourism revenue provides goes toward making the city a better place for locals to live in and for foreigners to visit.

If you care at all about the places you visit, it would be wise to stick around awhile. You’ll enjoy it more, and the destination you visit will be better for it.


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