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Queue jumping lands top tourism award

by Chiara Costa. Published Tue 25 Jun 2019 15:04, last updated: 25/06/19

One of the biggest online tourism web sites has awarded its top annual “experience award" to a service that skips the line at world heritage site.

TripAdvisor users selected the £57-a-head combined tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica at the best thing to buy, anywhere in the world.

It put things like riding white water rapids and a Sahara camel trekking adventure in the shade for 2019.

But the question is being asked whether the LENGTH of the queues at the Vatican is what makes it a “must have” experience.

Increased flows of tourists from China are said to be the biggest source of the growth in the numbers heading for the HQ of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy.

Worldwide the number of Chinese travellers has increased by more than one thousand percent since the year 2000 with 145million making trips overseas each year.

By 2030 that figure is predicted to reach as high as 400million per annum.

In Italy alone almost two million Chinese tourists visited in 2018 and the numbers are expected to increase, with only 7 per cent of Chinese citizens currently holding a passport.

Less than a decade ago the queueing time to get into St Peter’s Basilica was less than an hour. Now it often takes more than four hours.

Another other big problem of over-tourism is pollution, with people who care little about recycling throwing their rubbish in the streets, tarnishing the beauty of many cities.

Friends of the Earth UK (FoE) argue that current patterns of tourism, using air travel, are unsustainable for the planet.

FoE spokesman Ben Rider said: “Our holiday choices can have big implications when it comes to climate change.

“But there a number of things we can do to ensure that we travel sustainably without compromising on that well-earned holiday.

“Holidaying by train is a great way to cut down on carbon emissions and it doesn’t have to limit your adventures.”

“Some of Europe’s most beautiful cities such as Paris and Amsterdam can be reached within a few hours by train from London, and train routes such as Scotland’s West Highland Line are a stunning way to experience natural scenery without traveling out of the UK.”

Ben added that souvenir shoppers should also have conservation in mind. He added: “Try to avoid the tourist trail souvenir shops, which often order in bulk from thousands of miles away, and peruse the local markets to track down the best in independent crafts.”


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