Ideas & Debate

Try managing tourism sites the Spanish way

Holiday makers stroll through the tourist zone south on Spain's Canary island of Tenerife on July 10, 2017. AFP PHOTO | DESIREE MARTIN
Holiday makers stroll through the tourist zone south on Spain's Canary island of Tenerife on July 10, 2017. AFP PHOTO | DESIREE MARTIN 

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of spending a relaxing week in the Catalan region of northeastern Spain and witnessed tourism on performance enhancing steroids.

Due to the borderless state of the European Union (EU) member countries, domestic tourism — where domestic is defined as EU citizenry — is sufficient to keep airlines and hotels fully booked in the peak summer period.

We flew out of Amsterdam into Barcelona’s El Prat Airport on a KLM Boeing 737-700 with a maximum passenger capacity of 142 passengers. Both flights to and from Barcelona were packed to the rafters, which should have been the first indicator of what to expect in the main tourist sites.

We hired a rental car from the airport together with a confounded “TomTom” gadget that is the most un-user friendly GPS tool to use, especially when one is used to just stopping on the side of the road to ask “njia ya kwenda Sitges ni gani?” (How do I get to Sitges?).