At first glance, tourists’ killing tourism may sound like an oxymoron. I do admit that tourists are the ones who fund the tourism industry but what is the expense of that symbiotic relationship? I’ll be direct; the aesthetic cost of tourism is that it funds idiotic ‘improvements’ to tourist locations on a global basis. I’ll elaborate on that point a bit more but I want to preface with saying our overall time in Cambodia was enjoyable and, as you saw in my last post, absolutely gorgeous!
During second part of our day visiting temples we ventured to Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. Angkor Thom was quite impressive and surprisingly only from the 13th century, even though it looked far more ancient. I don’t know what I would expect from any structure that old but we saw the Egyptian pyramids and they seemed to be holding up much better. Anyways, from Angkor Thom we drove to Ta Prohm where the iconic trees ooze over the old, decrepit architecture. It was a gorgeous day to be walking underneath the towering trees to go observe one of the many magnificent scenes our world has to offer. Right before reaching what we thought to be the end of the self guided tour we noticed a crowd of people walking towards the back of a temple. Like a dog chasing its tail, we followed them to check if the famous view we all came for was nested behind the next corner.
As we slowly sauntered through the crowd and around the temple corner the towering tree revealed itself like a classic Polaroid photo! Almost instantly my admiration subsided and turned into dreadful dismay. There was a giant platform. Infested by tourists. Taking selfies. Covering the majestic scene behind it. It was honestly depressing because previous to actually arriving there I had only seen images from when the repulsive stage didn’t exist. You might think I’m being petty but think of the skywalk in Jasper. As convenient as the modern modifications might be, we are destroying the allure of untouched, naked, wild, elements that draws millions to travel. These modern eyesores kill the natural ambiance to many locations worldwide and butcher any possibility of creating a clean image of the place again. I won’t drag out my disgust at the attempt to make travel more accessible for those people who need to take that selfie to show their 50 Instagram followers; but it has caused a pandemic of obtrusive monstrosities that make the virgin landscapes look molested.
I would love to hear what you think about the modern development of tourist attractions: is it positive or negative from your perspective? I realize there is an attempt to preserve the locations but rather than immersing people directly into the point of interest, taking a step back is a more appropriate movement to incorporate.