BY DAVID FLORES
According to the Scholarly Community Encyclopedia, “The perception of residents of tourist areas affected by intensification of tourism or over-tourism, has changed from a positive or neutral vision to overt annoyance or irritation, which has generated a certain debate that has been conveyed in the media, an innovative aspect in the field of tourism. The term tourism phobia is mentioned for the first time in Spain linked to problems related to tourism and tourists.”
Mexico’s Autonomous University magazine also states that “From a few years back, massive tourism has strained cities like Venice, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, and has provoked tourism-phobia among many of its inhabitants. “
The World Tourism Organization reports that in 2019, 1.5 billion tourists traveled around the world and that following the pandemic, the numbers are increasing every month, to the point that pleasure traveling will reach between 80 and 95 of pre-pandemic years.
“This puts an enormous pressure on service providers, said Gustavo Lopez, a researcher at the Economy Research Institute of the UNAM, adding that “this means subordinating the properties, natural resources and even the workforce to tourism. It also has an impact on the environment.”
Historic sites like the Acropolis in Athens, Machu Picchu in Peru, some areas in Cancun in the Mexican Caribbean and even our own Balandra beach in La Paz have seen the need to regulate the access of tourists and the number of them to prevent damage to the ruins and the pristine areas that they house.
In Los Cabos, Todos Santos, Pescadero, Cerritos, La Paz, La Ventana, El Sargento and Los Barriles, the influx of foreigners is becoming overwhelming, yet welcome. Money is flowing and is making local residents improve their lifestyle, and regional producers becoming popular, but at a cost. Yes, nothing is free.
The number of vehicles going around has increased tremendously and the lack of road safety education – and lack of law enforcement – is so poor that car wrecks occur constantly, many of them with loss of lives.
The lack of urban planning programs – and their enforcement by the government – is causing construction chaos, extreme scarcity of water, thousands of people living in shacks on the outer edges of each town, frustration on those of us who arrived earlier and even on newbies who thought this was paradise.
Yes, it is a natural paradise. With parts of it now unreachable to local residents. Luxurious developments, Golf courses, and private beach clubs abound now where once local residents were able to enjoy nature. Medano Beach, Cabo’s most popular, is now hard to get to. There is no parking, or it is very expensive. Locals have to park at the Puerto Paraiso Mall and walk carrying their coolers, beach umbrellas and beach toys because businesses have taken control of it. The same is happening all around our beautiful state and it seems that no authority will put a stop to it.
The El Tezal area in Cabo San Lucas has grown incredibly. Anyone who ventures up that hill behind Costco is amazed by the number of homes and condos that popped up just in a few years. Yet, they do not have enough water supply and must buy water trucks every week, at high costs.
Then comes gentrification. Just in Todos Santos, at least five of its best restaurants have had to move away from downtown as landlords increase their rents whenever they want. Yet some newcomers don’t care about money, remodel buildings, build new ones and charge U.S. prices for their goods, which tourists are happy to pay.
Many Cabo residents are moving to Pescadero, Cerritos, Todos Santos, La Paz and beyond. But the growth follows them. Will tourism-phobia increase in the next few years?