Can we have too many tourists?
Sir, – In the Business section of The Irish Times there was an excellent item about Dublin Port Company carrying out a public consultation on whether they should build extra capacity which if completed would triple the number of cruise passengers arriving in Dublin by 2040 (Simon Carswell, “Dublin Port canvasses views on growing cruise business”, Business, October 22nd). Full marks to Dublin Port Company for reaching out to the public and other stakeholders in this way. I for one will be making a submission, and more people should do so. On the face of it, I think we need to be careful that we don’t kill the goose that lays the golden tourist egg.
We should be conscious of the places around the world which are over-touristed to the stage that the centres of cities have become depleted of locals living there. Places where there have been serious protests against over-tourism and especially cruise ships, include Barcelona, Venice, Florence (not near a port but cruise passengers are bussed in), Santorini, Mallorca, San Sebastián and not least Dubrovnik, where recently they have reduced cruise ships to two a day, with a maximum of 5000 people allowed a day.
The cruise-ship guided tours of Dublin are often too big for the streets to take. I have counted 40 in a single group. Furthermore, cruise-ship passengers do not contribute as much to the local economy as “normal” tourists as they often go back to the ship to wine and dine. Yes, they may buy a souvenir but do not spend to the same extent as other tourists. This is not an anti-tourist rant. I actually like having tourists in the city, and I am always happy to help them out when needed. I just think we need to consider carefully what we want before we get what we don’t want, which is an over-full city that no one, including our tourists, can enjoy. Dublin is too important a city for that to be allowed to happen. – Yours, etc,