Do we face a pandemonium?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

A story on the homepage of the CNN website was headlined, “UK destinations prepare for tourist pandemonium.” When you clicked on to the story the secondary was not quite so Armageddon-like. It was “UK destinations take steps to avoid tourist pandemonium” suggesting that between the headline and the secondary headline, destinations had developed a plan to deal with the pandemonium.

Bournemouth beach
was this a sign of pandemonium in Bournemouth?

Sub-editors or whoever CNN employ to create headlines for stories filed by their reporters had exercised their love of drama to come up with an attention grabbing headline (well, it worked in my case) which was rather let down by what followed. But isn’t that often the case with the mainstream media?

What the story was really about was the appeal of staycations and how last year’s lockdown had meant that people had holidayed at home. Interviewing tourist officials from Bournemouth, Pembrokeshire and Kent, there was talk of the impact of mass tourism on places that, although used to large numbers of visitors, couldn’t cope with a sudden deluge.

The infrastructure needed for mass tourism like car-parks, toilet facilities, attractions being open, traffic controls and clean-up after the visitors had left for the day were partially discussed but not completely.

What was agreed was that a bumper year could be ahead despite media stories about mad dashes by Britons to book holidays abroad.

Even without staycation fever again this year, there will be problems because there always are. It is how problems are dealt with that is often the bigger problem because isufficient planning had taken place.

Remember a story from a few years ago when planners in Scotland had obviously not thought about car park provision near the Glenfinnan viaduct? Consistent growth in visitor numbers didn’t lead to additional parking so local roads became clogged. Screaming about the problem when it causes pandemonium (to borrow CNN’s word) is too late. Suddenly realising that there are too few public toilets is not going to endear destinations to visitors. Deciding that it is necessary to limit visitor numbers on the day the visitors arrive doesn’t help either.

Whether it will be a bumper year or not, destinations need to plan a little better for the Easter (in Wales) and summer seasons so that  we have no pandemonium, just enjoyment!

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