Tourism is booming lately, even with some pandemic-related uncertainties still hanging around. Just head to any national park in the country and you’re bound to notice quite a few more people milling around.
With this overabundance of tourists inevitably come changes in how we travel and vacation, or so it seems. The pandemic has certainly changed some aspects of the travel experience already. Will overcrowding change travel even further?
U.S. National Parks
CNBC reports that some of our national parks are having record-setting numbers of tourists this year. In fact, July 2021 marked Yellowstone National Park’s busiest ever month, with record numbers of visitors.
Grand Teton National Park has also had a significant increase in tourists. Their numbers for June 2021 are about 20 percent higher than they were in 2019, which of course was pre-pandemic.
Interestingly enough, this rise in tourism has been happening for a while. Glacier and Yellowstone Parks have both observed that their tourism numbers are double what they were back in 1980. And overall, there were about 20 percent more visitors to our national parks in 2019 than there were just six years earlier.
Tourism is Up Internationally
It’s not just the United States that has seen a significant increase in tourism in recent years. Venice, Italy, has experienced a swell in visitor numbers lately as well.
Before the pandemic hit, Venice saw as many as 80,000 tourists each day. Officials there had already started looking into overcrowding solutions before COVID happened.
Clearly, the record high number of tourists visiting popular places is concerning. And not every tourist, unfortunately, is a good steward. So what should be done about overcrowded areas?
We may soon see that reservations are required to visit our national parks, for one thing. Glacier National Park has already started requiring reservations with a small fee for vehicles wishing to take on Going-the-Sun Road, which is a rather popular feature of the park.
The fee is only $2, and is collected in addition to the typical entry fee the park already requires. These reservations sell out pretty quickly though, so it may mean that we need to start planning trips farther ahead.
Rocky Mountain National Park is trying a slightly different route. They’re going with a permit system based on time. Their website states that they hosted more than 3.2 million tourists from June through September in 2019, while July 2021 brought nearly one million people. That’s quite a staggering number, so it makes sense that they’re implementing ways to help control overcrowding.
Can Blockchain Help?
While the permitting and reservation systems may help with overcrowding in the short term, it’s likely going to take some long-term thinking and planning to help in the future.
Blockchain technology may be one way to help with the problem of overcrowded tourist areas. One study done on Macedonia and Croatia observed several possible benefits of blockchain for the tourism industry.
For one thing, blockchain can help provide safer ways to do business or to sell something. It can also help pull up this type of information a little faster if needed. Perhaps blockchain could be a way that national parks could keep track of park reservations and permits in the future. When dealing with a million or more visitors in just one month, like with Rocky Mountain National Park, presumably this could help speed things up for tourists.
Doing Your Part to Help
As solutions to this issue become available, it’s important for all of us to be mindful of the overcrowding that’s going on. By all means, take vacations and visit our beautiful national parks or overseas destinations. But do so in a way that’s respectful and doesn’t damage the wonderful tourist attractions and natural landmarks we are fortunate to have.