Does Vancouver need to start turning tourists away?
Vancouver is a very nice city to visit. If you've ever been you don't need me to tell you that. In fact nobody needs to tell them that in fact Vancouver itself would probably prefer. I didn't tell people that the city's tourism industry industry is booming so much so that rather than ask themselves how to keep attracting guests. The city is wondering how to ask visitors to maybe stay. Stay at a place a little bit Outta town. Maybe go somewhere anywhere other than the marquee attractions like Stanley Park. There's no doubt that ten million visitors per year can do some great things for a cities economy but what Canada's most picturesque city is facing now. Is these same leg that has come for some of the oldest list and most popular destinations and the world. There is such a thing as too many visitors. So how does Vancouver politely say actually were full right now it becomes back later in the offseason Jordan. Rawlings this is the big story. Molly mccloskey is based in Washington. DC and she's a contributor at city lab among other outlets and she Ended up going wing to Vancouver to report this story today. Molly can you start by telling us how you came across the story. Well I love Ann Cooper. I've spent a fair amount of time there and I'm based on the West Coast states states now although still spend a fair amount of time DC. And so I was elected as a media scholar for the women deliver conference which is a massive international women's rights and family. The conference is held every couple of years and this year it was hoover and so as I was coming up to Vancouver I kind of reached out to the Tourism Board and smother contacts in the area and said you know what's really going on in your town that I should know about as reporter a somebody coming to visit. Who maybe want to see something that I haven't seen before? And as as a result of that conversation the person I was speaking with mentioned almost as an aside will you know we. We really don't promote Vancouver much in the summer anymore and I thought that was such a fascinating knitting idea because you know the tourism boards by their very nature. Their job is to bring people to town right. We see that all around the world and the idea that there are some places that are maxing out on what they can with either can or want to accommodate tourism. Wise was really fascinating to me. We'll do you have an idea of the scope of that leg. Just how did tourism do I guess in Vancouver in two thousand nineteen well. The latest numbers aren't finalized. Of course but when I spoke to them they were expecting ten million visitors In Vancouver in two thousand nineteen they were expecting about two hundred thirty cruise ships to come in and of course when you look at cruise ships versus other forms of tourism. It's a little bit different. Because cruise ship passengers don't necessarily stay in the hotels they may be. Don't necessarily elite at all. The restaurants like other drawers might so it's a little bit of a different beast but still I mean two hundred and thirty very large cruise ships Over the course of the year and and up to ten million visitors coming to Vancouver alone is a pretty dramatic flux of tourists. No matter how you look at it is that number increasing generally over the last little while for Vancouver. It is actually and Vancouver. This summer are expected to be at ninety five percent capacity which for the city that means for cities in general that means really looking at how often the hotels are booked how often restaurants overcrowded with the capacity of special events and things like the women deliver conference how many people that's bringing into the city and if the rate of services such as transit ed or taxis or rideshare which has just launched in Vancouver if they can keep up and keep people moving in a even steady daddy non dramatic flow. That was going to be my next question is do we know. Kind of how approaching capacity impacts the day to day life of a city. Yes we do actually and we seen it in backlash Around around the world really. It's it's really a global tourism boom and keep in mind too that so so many cities depend on tourism as a huge part of their economy. Right and so and that goes back to you know when we were all hunters and gatherers authors and then switched over to an agrarian society and really suddenly started having more and creating more than we needed to consume for ourselves cities of always accommodated or expected to accommodate visitors. Four things like trade as they popped up on trade routes and rivers that sort of thing so this idea of tourism mhm has in some way shape or form existed as long as we've had this idea of cities but as you look at places like Venice or Amsterdam or Barcelona where there's just just too many. There's too many people coming to the scene. Few attractions We've seen in some cases like New York City and Ellis island where the tourists worse. That are coming aren't necessarily very mannerly The rise in social media and instagram and and this idea of I need to get the perfect shot as opposed to you. Experience the perfect sunset or visit. The Perfect Museum has also changed the way that we travel and experience the places that we go to keep in mind too. That tourism in general is very trendy so when I was living in Croatia I lived in the summer before Chris joined the EU the summer joined the EU and the summer after and suddenly Zagreb was the hot spot for tourists and so everybody was there and that immediately impacted things like services for residents and the prices of things things and whether or not there were apartments available at reasonable rates or foreign investors. Buying them up all the time Vancouver had a similar instance where a lot of people were buying properties that they were not living in and keeping them as investment properties. So all of these things when you when you upset the balance of a city for its residents residents that occasionally accommodates tourists versus city that is dependent on tourism to support its residents. It's a different dynamic namic and that's something that cities around the world are really having to grapple with as they are seeing more and more people traveling what kind of actual evidence Did you see in Vancouver. Did they tell you about just in terms of its impact on popular landmarks or the city in general. And what have other places around around the world done to curb some of that Eighty million people lined up for the same instagram shot. While if you take an instance like Quarry Rock in North Van which I love northbound I I climbed the grouse grind a couple years ago and fell and got experience Canadian. Healthcare there's ever in Vancouver but if you look at something acquire rock. which was you know? E- community hiking trail. It was a place that the locals new. They'd spend a Saturday and suddenly became. I'm an international destination and so you had very large tour buses trying to cram into parking lots that were really just meant for locals and for sedans the ends Maybe a minivan or to The the trail getting to the trail. There's lots of gridlock. There was community tension. This idea of we're being invaded by people that are not in our town. I feel that way. It caused a lot of tension and so they put in their new parking harking laws or when he finds their overflow areas they would the locals who put up signs that basically said like the trial had is full like you. This is not the day for you to come to the trail head and as a result of working with the locals the team at Tourism Vancouver finally said okay. You know what we agree. We will just flat out not not promote quarry rock at all and we will start promoting other