Tag: Tourism

Welcome to the Brotherhood of Sh%$-Hole Nations

Much of the Caribbean is rolling up the welcome mat to American tourists because of our bungling of the Covid-19 pandemic:

As Caribbean beaches and resorts begin welcoming back international tourists, there’s one group that’s increasingly being left out: Americans.

Tropical vacation spots across the region are giving U.S. citizens the cold shoulder amid fears they might spread the coronavirus, cutting Americans off from one of the few regions that was still accessible to them.

This week, the Bahamas will begin barring commercial flights and passenger ships from the U.S., even as it invites Canadian and European tourists to visit. The Dutch countries of St. Maarten and Curacao have also reopened to almost everyone but U.S. travelers.

So much winning.

Welcome to the Brotherhood of Sh%$-Hole Nations

As a result of an abysmally managed pandemic response, it is looking increasingly likely that the EU is giving serious consideration to banning travelers from the United States.

This is some definition of, “Making America Great Again,” that I was previously unaware of:

European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers reviewed by The New York Times.

That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.

European nations are currently haggling over two potential lists of acceptable visitors based on how countries are faring with the coronavirus pandemic. Both lists include China, as well as developing nations like Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam. Both also exclude the United States and other countries that were deemed too risky because of the spread of the virus.

Welcome to the 3rd world, folks.

What the People of Amsterdam Have Discovered

Amsterdam has been catering to tourists, for the weed, for the sex shops, the canals, and for the wonderful architecture, for years, and now its citizens have discovered that they like their city a lot better without the hoards of overbearing tourists:

Amsterdam’s historic Red Light District is rife with English-language city signs admonishing tourists: “Don’t pee in the street”; “No alcohol in public spaces”; “Put your trash in the bin”; “Fine: 140 euros.”

But the cartoonish black-and-red warnings on the 17th-century canals look strangely out of place these days. There are no visitors to heed them.

Beginning in mid-March, when the Netherlands went into semi-lockdown to combat the covid-19 pandemic, tourism vanished from Amsterdam almost overnight. A social and economic crisis has hit the country and its capital hard. But for residents of Amsterdam’s historic city center, there is a clear silver lining: temporary relief from the burden of overtourism.


Nowhere is the difference more clear than in the now-deserted alleys of the Wallen, as the red-light district is called. It is a major tourist draw, famous for the sight of sex workers soliciting from behind their windows and the many coffee shops where visitors can light up a joint. Here, noise is permanent, and nuisance a given. Tourists often leave trash and urinate in public.


“It’s just lovely. I’ve lived here five years, and I’m now getting to know neighbors I didn’t know I had. They used to blend into the crowd,” she says. “Now, when the sun is out, people take a chair and sit out front. It’s so gezellig,” she continues, using the common Dutch adverb that translates to “having a good time together.”


“It’s like the city is ours again,” she says, echoing a common sentiment among Amsterdammers who feel like their interests had become subordinate to those of visitors.


Seeing the pristine metropolis, many citizens feel like they are wandering through the Amsterdam of the past. Tim Verlaan, an assistant professor of urban history at the University of Amsterdam, draws a parallel to what it looked like in the 1970s and ‘80s.

“The lockdown, of course, is unprecedented. But many Amsterdammers are reminded of a time when the city first and foremost was a place to live, and not to consume or play tourist,” he says.


Through a combination of economic prosperity, a lowered crime rate and shrewd marketing, tourism to Amsterdam exploded. Global trends contributed further. Airfare became ever cheaper as the traveling middle classes of Europe and the United States were joined by those in Asia.

From the 21st century on, the balance in the inner city was definitively skewed toward visitors. Hotel rooms multiplied, streets felt permanently overcrowded. The canal cityscape became the domain of tours, ticket offices and souvenir shops. And perhaps the biggest offense to locals? The ever-multiplying sellers of ice cream and waffles sauced with Nutella chocolate, now the dreaded symbol of a monocultural tourism industry.

Last year, 9 million tourists, mostly foreigners, visited Amsterdam, a city of 820,000 people.


With tourism down and out, many are hoping things will be different after the current crisis.

“This is such an opportunity to reflect on where we go from here,” says Els Iping, spokeswoman for VVAB, an organization that protects cultural heritage in the inner city and has been a vocal advocate of restoring the balance in favor of residents. “We are proud of our city, and we like to see others enjoy it. But the superficial type of tourism that has people pay pocket change to fly out here has to stop.”


“You’ll likely see changes already in the making accelerated by this crisis,” Verlaan says.

To be on the safe side, Iping’s organization is already petitioning the city to stick to its guns. “Some in the tourism industry, of course, will now want to reverse these policies, citing the need for economic recovery,” she says.

“But almost everyone else agrees that Amsterdam should seize this moment to never return to the old situation again.”

I’ve wonder if the people who live in colonial Williamsburg feel the same way.

If you wonder why people live in tourist traps seem to hate tourists, this is it.

Proof that AirBnB is Destroying Cities

In tourism-heavy cities (I used Nashville, Honolulu, New Orleans, and Savannah) the rental market is exploding, as AirBnB owners are suddenly forced to put their houses on the market.

This surge in supply is going to dramatically cut the rates of monthly rentals. pic.twitter.com/Zyh3AYouyH

— Shane Morris (@IamShaneMorris) March 22, 2020

For years, AirBnB lobbyists and “advocates of the free market” have argued that AirBnB has a negligible impact on the prices of rentals, arguing that they were two totally different commodities.

Now we’re seeing they were totally full of shit.

— Shane Morris (@IamShaneMorris) March 22, 2020

“BuT wHeRe WiLl peOplE sTaY wIThoUt aLL tHeSe sHoRT tErm RenTAlS?”

Hotels. That’s the answer. People will stay in hotels.

The coronavirus has put on full display, these houses and condos were ALWAYS reducing rental supply, and making housing less affordable.

— Shane Morris (@IamShaneMorris) March 22, 2020

Shane Morris did a drill down on Zillow data for furnished rentals, and found that there has been an explosion of long term rentals now that AirBnB has cratered. (Read the whole Twitter thread)

This is the real world experiment which shows that, notwithstanding the

It turns out that the service does take huge amounts of residential rental properties out of the market by moving them to short term rentals (hotels).

To those who argue that hotels take up space too, it should be noted that for a given area, a hotel will house tens, if not hundreds, of times more guests than an AirBnB listing.

People are buying converting residential rentals to hotels, or in an even more destabilizing development, long term renting properties to secretly sublease as AirBnB’s, which means that when there is a downturn, there are suddenly dozens of landlords who are about to discover that their “tenants” are actually speculators who are going to walk away from their leases.  (And I agrew tiht hte poster that, “The sudden collapse of AirBNB has been, legitimately, the funniest f%$#ing thing I’ve watched play out this past month.”

This will not end well, but it is the inevitable result of using regulatory arbitrage to facilitate leverage, speculation, and looting.

As I have noted before, the “sharing economy” has turned out to be little more than sucking the marrow out of society.

Authorities need to stop buying into the whole “internet disruption” bullsh%$.

All it does is enrich a few at the expense of the bulk of society.