Revisiting Millionaires’ Row: New book travels down Cleveland’s glittering memory lane (vintage photos)


Photos from The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland Public Library

Cleveland, Ohio – There is no bigger loss in Cleveland cultural history than that of Millionaires’ Row.

From the mid-1800s to the 1930s, the portion of Euclid Avenue known as Millionaires’ Row was home to more than 40 grand mansions — and some other really big homes — that housed the crème de la crème of Cleveland society: industrialists and inventors such as John D. Rockefeller, Marcus Hanna, Leonard Hanna, Jeptha Wade, Charles F. Brush, Amasa Stone and John Hay.

Library of Congress

Baedeker’s Travel Guide called the elm-lined stretch of Euclid Avenue the “Showplace of America” in the late 1800s, urging all visitors to America to pay a visit. The avenue was compared to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Fifth Avenue in New York and Berlin’s Unter den Linden.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collections: Stager-Beckwith Mansion

The enormous mansions were set several acres back from the avenue, which was paved with Medina sandstone. In front of the houses, landscaped grounds added to the allure. Many driveways had imposing gates signaling the importance of the residents. Architectural styles varied, but the overall theme was grandeur and size — such as Leonard Hanna’s neoclassical mansion near East 30th Street.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

For Clevelanders, it was the most fashionable address in town.

Today, only four of those mansions remain. The rest have been lost to the wrecking ball and time and neglect — only accessible in dusty photos and the pages of myriad books that have been written about the glittery era.

Cleveland Memory Project/Courtesy of Alan Dutka: Samuel Andrews mansion, C. 1923

“It was such a loss, with so many fascinating stories — and a lot of mistruths, too,” says Cleveland historian Alan Dutka, author of the new “Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row” (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99).

“Although so much has been said about the history of Millionaire’s Row, a lot of Ph.D. dissertations and magazine articles, people still have many questions: who lived there, when and what happened to these mansions. I wanted to answer these, and also dispel a lot of incorrect things that have been written before.”

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer: Ella Grant Wilson wedding on Eucli Avenue

This is Dutka’s second book about Millionaires’ Row. The first, “Misfortune on Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row,” was released in 2015. Since that book focused mostly on the human stories of the street, Dutka’s latest delves into the history of the homes, starting at Public Square and moving east.

Alan Dutka: Drury Mansion on Cleveland Clinic campus, 2019

One-hundred-and-twenty-six pages of vintage pictures show the interiors and exteriors of the homes, as well as the passage of time as Gothic houses are replaced by motels and arenas and business schools. Dutka includes several “now” photos to show what stands today where the houses stood.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

A slate of sleek midcentury motels such as Watson’s Motor Lodge and the Sheraton Sahara, often overlooked in histories of Euclid Avenue, are the exception to the rule — though they, too, are now long gone.

Despite his focus on the houses, Dutka includes many interesting bits about the residents of the 28-block stretch. Four presidents visited Sylvester Everett in his 50-plus-room Gothic castle at East 40th Street, for example, while down the street, Mark Hanna convinced William McKinley to run for president in the library of Daniel Eell’s mansion.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: Euclid Avenue and East 55th, 1922

“I wanted to show what all of the locations looked like now, but a lot of those photos were so boring we didn’t use them … what has replaced these mansions isn’t too interesting in a lot of cases.”

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer

Dutka meticulously moves down Euclid Avenue, thoroughly documenting well-known houses such as the Stager-Beckwith Mansion, one of the earliest homes; Charles Brush’s 40,000-square-foot mansion at 3725 Euclid, complete with Tiffany glass; and Samuel Andrews’ sprawling Victorian Gothic on the northwest corner of East 30th Street that took 100 servants to maintain and was soon dubbed “Andrews’ Folly” since it was so hard to maintain. It was shuttered by 1898 and demolished in 1923.

Cleveland Public Library/Courtesy of Alan Dutka: Everett manion at East 40th

Everett’s house at 4111 Euclid, broken into apartments in 1922, was demolished in 1938. Today it’s a parking lot.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

Dutka also delves into the history of lesser-known homes, such as railroad executive Henry Payne’s pre-Civil War Victorian at 2121 Euclid, John Henry Devereux’s Italianate palazzo at 3226 Euclid and Morris Bradley’s English manor at 7217 Euclid.

Library of Congress

Fifteen of the mansions were by architect Charles Frederick Schweinfurth, who also designed Cleveland’s Old Stone Church and Trinity Cathedral.

Schweinfurth’s first Euclid Avenue home was Everett’s sprawling mansion, while the Samuel Mather Mansion was a 45-room Tudor masterpiece. Built in 1910, Mather’s home was the most expensive on Millionaires’ Row. Made of handcrafted stone, it included a third-floor ballroom with a 16-foot-ceiling that could fit 300 guests.

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer

Mather’s extravagant effort was also the last significant home built on Millionaires’ Row. By the 1920s, many of the wealthy had begun to flee to the eastern suburbs as the Euclid Avenue commercial district began to creep closer.

Library of Congress: Charles Brush mansion

Despite what you may have heard, most millionaires did not ask for their houses to be demolished after they moved or died, says Dutka.

“That’s really more of a story than truth,” says Dutka. “It wasn’t very common. [Jeptha] Wade and [Charles] Brush did it, but that’s about it.”

Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer: Wick mansion mural

It was mostly a skyrocketing tax rate as well as downtown pollution that drove the millionaires east, says the writer.

“It’s funny, because they created this environment with their factories, but they didn’t want to live there.”

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 1961

By 1937, most of the houses had been torn down or were split into boardinghouses. None were occupied as single-family homes. The 1950s meant the demise of the majority of the remaining houses for the Inner Belt freeway.

Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer: Evertt mansion mural

A few remnants of the once-glorious Row remain, however. The Mather Mansion escaped the wrecking ball and is now part of Cleveland State University, while the 1863-built, Second Empire-style Stager-Beckwith Mansion was acquired by the Cleveland Children’s Museum in 2014.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

A few remnants of the once-glorious Row remain, however. The Mather Mansion escaped the wrecking ball and is now part of Cleveland State University, while the 1863-built, Second Empire-style Stager-Beckwith Mansion was acquired by the Cleveland Children’s Museum in 2014.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

“Once the original owners had moved on, many of the houses were also lost, because Clevelanders just didn’t care,” explains Dutka.

Peggy Turbett

Stockbridge mansion murals

A handpainted mural depicts the Corning mansion in the Stockbridge Apartment building, built in 1911 as the Stockbridge Hotel, photographed Wednesday, March 30, 2011. The Stockbridge was a winter home for millionaires so they wouldn have to heat their 20,000 sq. ft. mansions. (Peggy Turbett/ The Plain Dealer) The Plain Dealer

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: Everett mansion

“One thing that doesn’t get talked about much is that in the ’40s and ’50s, there was a backlash against these fantastic Gothic houses. People really didn’t have an interest in these houses, and that was surprising to me. When the Everett house was torn down, The Plain Dealer wrote, ‘This Gothic structure was considered fashionable at one time.'”

Peggy Turbett

Stockbridge mansion murals

The Beckwith mansion is depicted in a handpainted mural in the Stockbridge Apartment building, built in 1911 as the Stockbridge Hotel, photographed Wednesday, March 30, 2011. The Stockbridge was a winter home for millionaires so they wouldn have to heat their 20,000 sq. ft. mansions. (Peggy Turbett/ The Plain Dealer) The Plain Dealer

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

“No one really cared then. Today there would have been more outrage.”

James A Ross, The Plain Dealer: White Mansion, 1989

Out of all the lost grand mansions, which one does Dutka consider the biggest loss?

Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection/Courtesy of Alan Dutka

“I could see Everett’s house being some kind of fantastic museum today,” he says. “That to me was the spectacular example of Millionaires’ Row. It would have been nice to save.”

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer: Inside the Mather mansion

Coming Up

What: A book signing for Alan Dutka’s “Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row.”

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 702 Euclid Avenue C. 1907

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer: Early Millionaires’ Row residents

Where: North Royalton Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, 5071 Wallings Road.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 1921

Register: cuyahoga.libnet.info/event/1914269?registration=true



An expert guide to a weekend in Tenerife


Local laws and etiquette

Tipping is optional. In restaurants, 10 per cent is usually enough. For taxis, it’s acceptable just to round up.

The unfortunately named Titsa bus service is reasonably priced and serves most parts of the island in a more or less reliable fashion.

Taxis are generally safe and low-cost, though confirm the fare with the driver before you commit. See previous note about tipping.

Driving is relatively straightforward in Tenerife, though watch out for drivers putting their left indicators on; it doesn’t always mean they’re going to turn left, it’s sometimes a way to warn cars behind that the traffic ahead has slowed or come to a standstill.

Greetings between locals are generally a kiss-on-each-cheek affair.

Be aware if you rent a car – fines can be issued for wearing inappropriate footwear (flip-flops), or driving without a shirt on. Seatbelts are compulsory, front and back.

Take heed of any coloured flags on beaches; currents can be dangerous in certain areas, even on the resort beaches.





Sustainable travel: A guide to understanding your impact on the environment and how to reduce it


Eoneren/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

It’s easy to forget that tourists contribute to climate change in a substantial way. So can you satiate your travel bug while minimizing your impact on the environment? This package will help answer that question with tips and ideas on how to be a better traveler.


The environmental impact of travel

It’s a big world, but many of us flock to the same places. Of the 1.4 billion international tourist trips that people took in 2017, half a billion of them were to the 300 most popular cities, according to the World Tourism and Travel Council. Shanghai, Beijing, Paris, New York and Orlando were the five most popular destinations.

Many destinations have already made efforts to combat overtourism. In August, the Italian government announced it would be rerouting cruise ships from the central part of Venice, and earlier this year Venice council voted to impose an entrance fee for visitors to help pay for the upkeep of the much-visited World Heritage Site. Amsterdam removed its iconic “I Am Amsterdam” sign due to overcrowding in 2018. The city has also limited Airbnb rentals and has banned new tourist shops from opening in the city centre.

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Cities found to be most at risk of suffering the damaging effects of overtourism are Cairo, Jakarta, Delhi, Bangkok, Bogota, Mumbai, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City, which were all singled out in the report as having inadequate resources for dealing with tourism growth.

By the numbers

22 Tonnes

Amount of greenhouse gas the average Canadian produces each year, according to a report by Climate Transparency, a coalition of international climate organizations.

1.294 Tonnes

Amount of greenhouse-gas emissions produced by a round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver.

83 per cent

Amount that CO2 emissions from international aviation have increased since 1990, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.

25 per cent

Amount of a plane’s emissions caused by takeoff and landing. Flying nonstop is better.

17 per cent

Estimated reduction in the number of loads of laundry washed by hotels that request guests reuse their towels instead of using fresh ones each day, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

150 Tonnes

Amount of fuel a mid-size cruise ship, carrying approximately 2,800 passengers, can use each day, emitting as much particulate matter as 1 million cars, according to Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, a German environmental association.

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2 per cent

Amount of the world’s carbon emissions caused by global air travel.

23,000

Amount of plastic bottles Marriott International expects to save each year, on average, for a 140-room hotel by replacing individual soap, shampoo and conditioner bottles with bulk dispensers in its showers.

Train, plane, car or bus?

How much carbon dioxide do different modes of transportation produce, per passenger, for each kilometre?

  • Train: 14 grams
  • Small car: 42 grams
  • Average car: 55 grams
  • Bus: 68 grams
  • Plane: 285 grams

(Source: European Environment Agency)


boyarkinamarina/The New York Times

Packing sustainably

“Everything we take – and leave behind – has a footprint. The trick is to do more with far less,” says zero-waste advocate Lauren Singer. She has lived a zero-waste lifestyle for eight years and owns the popular Package Free Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y. Here are some of her ideas on how to cut down your traveling weight.

Carry-on always

Good options include Patagonia’s Black Hotel duffel, which is both sustainable and fair trade – it uses a zero-wastewater discharging system, meaning wastewater from manufacturing the bag is treated so nearby waterways are not polluted. Singer also advocates for buying luggage with a lifetime warranty, which improves the odds that a bag will be repaired rather than thrown in the trash.

Minimize toiletries or make your own

Look for toiletries that are organic and sustainably sourced and that come in biodegradable packaging. Shampoo and conditioner bars are a great way to minimize plastic use while travelling. David’s Natural Toothpaste is free of sulfates and comes in a recyclable metal tube. Its box packaging is paperboard made using renewable wind energy. Singer makes her own organic, vegan toothpaste. Her recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 15 to 20 drops of organic essential oil, such as peppermint or anise. If you’re a snorkeller or scuba diver, make sure your sunscreen is reef-friendly. Agent Nateur makes organic, all-natural deodorants for both men and women from sources that are non-toxic nor environmentally harmful. Plus, they come in metal containers instead of plastic.

Pack snacks, reusable bottles and utensils

Bring your own food in organic cotton bags or beeswax wraps. Singer says bamboo is an ideal replacement for plastic and the sturdy material can be moulded into reusable coffee cups, straws and utensils. Wet wipes have become a travel essential, but are not flushable and clog sewers. Replace them with biodegradable tissues. And don’t forget to bring a cloth shopping bag to pick up groceries, take to the beach or store dirty laundry.

Go solar-powered

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Eliminate the need to bring along a cache of cords to charge your electronics and try solar-powered chargers, which are ideal for daytime charging and short-term needs. They’re also perfect for adventure travellers who might not be near electrical outlets. Popular options include the Nekteck solar charger, Anker solar charger and Goal Zero Venture 30 solar power recharger kit.


Eco-friendly destinations

From Aruba to the Arctic, these destinations are making environmental practices part of their appeal.

Island escape

Aruba’s Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort sits on 14 acres of beautiful white sand beach. Named the world’s most sustainable hotel by Green Globe, a Los Angeles-based sustainability certification agency, Bucuti & Tara became the Caribbean’s first carbon-neutral resort last year. Thanks to the largest solar panel installation the government of Aruba will allow, energy-efficient appliances and purchasing carbon offsets from a local wind farm, the resort has been able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. Guests are provided with a reusable water canteen, and are invited to participate in monthly beach clean-ups.


Sustainable cruising

With demand surging, the cruising industry has come under fire for its environmental impact. Intrepid Group, an Australia-based company that operates several brands, including Peregrine Adventures, has been carbon neutral since 2010 thanks to carbon offset projects. Their nine-day sustainable cruise to Thailand, for example, takes passengers to small islands off the west coast, where you can swim in the Andaman Sea and then dine with locals in villages. To promote sustainable cruising, Peregrine uses smaller boats that each accommodate a maximum of 50 passengers. The company banned all single-use plastics from its cruises, and sources 90 per cent of each trip’s food locally.

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Nature adventure

There are few things more quintessentially Canadian than paddling in local waters. Family-owned Owl Rafting teaches guests the intricacies of white-water rafting, the finesse of canoeing and the importance of this country’s waterways. The company has two locations: one in Ottawa, and one just east of Algonquin Park. Both locations are committed to green practices, including in how they prepare and buy food and in the day-to-day operation of their eco-lodges.


The epic arctic

Seal River Heritage Lodge is the flagship eco-lodge of tour operator Churchill Wild, where you can experience Arctic safaris. Most daily excursions are conducted by foot to minimize impact on the environment and interference with wildlife. The lodge runs primarily on solar power, operates greywater recycling systems, maintains a strict waste, water and compost program and offers locally foraged foods as well as organic produce grown in a recently built greenhouse in the southern part of the province.


A place in paradise

Taking a “green tour” may not seem like a priority after making the long journey to Tetiaroa, an atoll not far from Tahiti, in the South Pacific. In French Polynesia, air conditioning accounts for 60 per cent of resort electricity bills; the Brando uses sea water air conditioning, chilled water from the ocean’s depths, as the cooling source for its 35 villas. The Brando has the largest solar field in the country, which produces two-thirds of the island’s energy. A generator, fuelled by coconut oil and other biofuels, is used from midnight to 8 a.m. Rainwater is collected and used for laundry, glass is ground and used in paving projects and the compost program is so successful the resort sells its extra to a company in Tahiti.

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What about carbon offsets?

Carbon offsets allow travellers to purchase a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions to compensate for the same amount of emissions produced by their trip.

Carbon offsets are bought and sold through a number of international brokers, online retailers and trading platforms. For example, a wind energy company would sell carbon offsets to help their company create new non-polluting energy, which the buyer would be able to claim mitigates their polluting energy use.

The David Suzuki Foundation recommends the Gold Standard, the highest standard in the world for carbon offsets. Administered by the Gold Standard Foundation, a non-profit based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Gold Standard is now supported by more than 80 non-governmental organizations and focuses on projects in developing countries.

Less Emissions, a Canadian company owned by the green energy retailer Bullfrog Power, prices its carbon offsets by the tonne. Domestic offsets cost $24 per tonne, while international offsets cost $32 per tonne. “If you flew from Halifax to Vancouver and back … that would cost you roughly $40,” says Sean Drygas, president of Bullfrog Power.


ROBERT ZEHETMAYER/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Once you’ve arrived

You can make a difference when planning your next trip with informed and sustainable decisions once you’re on the ground.

Share the wealth

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Think local when looking for transportation, a hotel, restaurant or tour guide to help tourism dollars benefit the community you’re visiting. Renting a bike can seem like a small step, but it allows you to explore beyond the confines of a vehicle, is less polluting and puts money into the pocket of a local business.

Flex your studies

Use a guide book or official website to research your destination to understand customs, traditions and history before travelling. Learn what to wear when exploring, whether you’re visiting a monument or a local market (remember to bring clothing to cover up when visiting any religious site). Ask a hotel concierge or tour guide for advice on what to pay for local services, such as a ride in a tuk tuk.

Meet the maker

When shopping for souvenirs or handcrafted objects, avoid buying items that could be considered a biological treasure (such as a rare plant or exotic pet) or an antique that may be archaeologically significant. Never buy banned wildlife products such as ivory or a tortoise shell. If you want to go the extra step, be considerate when bargaining, depending where you travel — it’s normal to barter, but don’t fight over pennies.

Think enviro-consciously

Treat your destination as if it were your home. Go beyond avoiding plastic straws or bags and reusing towels by bringing your own biodegradable toiletries in refillable containers — leave behind as little as possible.

Watch what you eat

Choose locally sourced and created cuisine. Try to eat in instead of eating on-the-go — that way there’s less waste from your carry out containers. Avoid supporting chain stores, where you might be missing out on the culture and where more waste may be produced. Pack a refillable water bottle; in areas where bottled water is the only option, consider buying larger bottles to share to reduce plastic waste.

Other resources and websites

To change the way you look at travel, try to seek out designations such as the Green Destination Standard, which sets environmental, cultural and business criteria to measure, monitor and improve the sustainability of destinations and regions.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council

The GTSC is a comprehensive resource for learning about tourism businesses and destinations that strive to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources. The council grants voluntary, third-party certification for destinations, tour operators and hotels that want to make sustainability integral to their business plans. Partnered with Canadian tour operator G Adventures, they also offer an online web class to teach tourists about the right choices to make when planning a vacation.

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Bee + Hive

This sustainable tourism association launched a booking platform this year to help you find a list of hotels and experiences focused on wildlife conservation, environmental preservation and sharing cultural traditions while also providing economic benefits for communities.


Further reading

More advice

Opinion

This guide was compiled by Sierra Bein with reports from Gayle MacDonald, Dave McGinn, Maryam Siddiqi, David Moscrop and Waheeda Harris.



Unwanted tourist types: The kinds of travelers becoming more unwelcome


(CNN) — Rowdy groups of bachelor parties. Backpackers asking locals to pay their way. The hordes that pour daily off cruise ships, choking up city centers.

It wasn’t so long ago that tourists were (relatively) feted in the destinations they visited, with locals relishing the chance to earn money through a tourism economy.

But today, with traveler numbers becoming out of control, and tourists dwarfing local populations in popular cities from Amsterdam to Venice, things have changed.

Today, the challenge is to be a “good” tourist. And as we try to travel to places without making a negative impact, destinations are becoming emboldened to speak openly about which kinds of travelers are welcome — and which are not.

Stags and hens out of favor

insiderguide-prague-hemingwaybar

Cities like Prague and Budapest are trying to discourage hard-drinking bachelor groups

Hemingway Bar

Tour operator Matt Mavir says that sometimes hotels take some persuasion to accommodate his clients. Mavir is the founder of Last Night of Freedom, a UK-based tour operator exclusively working with “stag” and “hen” (bachelor and bachelorette) parties.

Since founding the company in 1999, the market has changed dramatically, he tells CNN. In the past, destinations that were less desirable to a global market would court travelers wanting to go to cheaper, more “adventurous” places — including bachelor groups.

But as previously little visited destinations get more mainstream, the intrepid travelers are getting pushed out.

“Budapest is a great example — back in the early 1990s, it was probably on the frontier of where people thought was OK to travel to,” says Mavir.

“But now, people go to Budapest with your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, with the kids — it’s not like Paris, where everyone’s been, and it’s easy to get to.

“All of a sudden, hoteliers with rooms you’d have picked up for next to nothing are thinking, ‘Would I rather have couples and people who are definitely not going to cause any problems, or a group of 12 lads who’ll probably be fine but might not be?’

“Do people ever really, really want stags? I don’t think they do.”

Of course, there’s a reason bachelor parties have a bad reputation, but Mavir says that groups using a tour operator tend to be better behaved — all his clients are assigned a tour guide for the duration of their stay. What’s more, they’re of the opposite sex — which tends to make the visitors better behaved, he says.

“Our guys have spent more money, they’re slightly more cultured, more interested in doing activities, and we take deposits, itinerarize and guide them. For hotels, you’ve got 12 guys who will drink in your bar and be reasonably well behaved — that can add to your hotel.

“Once you take [a bachelor group] and realize they’re not as bad as you think, it’s OK, but if you’re trying to make things classier you’re probably looking for more couples. And that has a knock-on effect.”

Authorities cracking down on begpackers

Bachelor parties aren’t the only kind of tourists being squeezed out by destinations. Over the last two years, social media has seen the rise of “begpackers,” who busk or ask for money in the street to fund their travels.

In July 2019, Bali — one of the destinations where the phenomenon is most pronounced — announced plans to report Western begpackers to their embassies so that their national authorities can foot the bill for their upkeep.

Begpackers have also been called out by disgruntled locals in destinations from Hong Kong to Seoul, says Denis Tolkach, assistant professor at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“It has definitely created a lot of negative commentary online,” he tells CNN. “The reaction of the authorities appears to be related to the negative media.”

Before the current political protests, Hong Kong was a begpacker hotspot, says Tolkach — adding that Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea are also seeing the phenomenon.

For an academic study on begpackers, Tolkach interviewed some in Hong Kong and says that they’re a diverse group — not just in terms of where they’re from, but also in how they ask for money.

“Some busk, try to develop their performance skills, others beg and may even attempt to deceive local residents claiming they lost their wallet.”

Tolkach says that authorities around Asia are “definitely” cracking down on the practice.

“The reaction of the authorities appears to be related to the negative media. Some of our begpacker interviewees noticed that the attitude from the police has changed. It has become more likely that police check their documents and ask them to leave.” However, he says that arrests “appear to be rare.”

Bali isn’t the only destination to be cracking down. Tolkach says that border officers in Thailand may ask for proof that a potential visitor has enough money for their stay, and Hong Kong has got stricter on the “visa run” that backpackers used to do — traveling to nearby Macau for the day to “reset” their visa stay.

Backpackers not welcome

Best of Qatar

Qatar wants visitors who’ll patronize its museums, not backpackers

Barry Neild/CNN

Every destination wants to maximize its income from tourism, of course — but while many places encourage luxury travelers, others are going all out to discourage backpackers and those on a lower budget.

Since 2014, Qatar’s official tourism strategy has pushed for “well-off families” and “high-income travelers.” In 2011, chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority Ahmed Abdullah Al-Nuaimi told Reuters that the Gulf state was focusing on high-end visitors.

“We don’t want people to come for a $50 room to lie on the beach all day and walk around with a backpack and shorts,” he said. “These are not the type of people we’re targeting.”

“Normally the backpackers are just there to lie on the beach and spend as little as possible,” said Akbar Al Baker.

Neither Qatar Airways or the Qatar Tourism Authority responded to a request for comment.

Australia — long known as a destination for young travelers, who often work their way around the country — introduced a controversial “backpacker tax” in 2017.

While Australian workers have a tax-free threshold of A$18,200 (US $12,500), people on working holidays are taxed 15% — although in October 2019, the tax was ruled illegal for citizens of eight countries which have treaties with Australia, including the UK, US, Germany and Japan.

It doesn’t look like things will change any time soon for budget travelers.

“Most destinations are focusing on high-yield market segments now,” says Denis Tolkach. “Backpackers are traditionally known for exploring destinations off the beaten track, purchasing local products and interacting with local residents, but in large numbers they can inflict damage to the local environment, culture and community through partying and misbehaving.”

There is one place actively appealing to younger travelers, however. In 2018, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, launched a media campaign ad billing itself as “the G-spot of Europe.” The campaign was recently shortlisted for the “best city destination campaign” at the 2019 International Travel and Tourism Awards.

Inga Romanovskienè, director of Go Vilnius, tells CNN that the campaign aimed to position the city as “an alternative European city break destination” to the “millennial market with disposable income and an interest in lesser known destinations and experiences.”

The campaign specifically targeted visitors aged 18-35 from Germany and the UK, and it has paid off, with German visitors up 37.8% year on year, and UK guests up 20.5%.

“Our goal is to attract more young, curious travelers,” says Romanovskienè. “I think we’re on the right track to achieving this.”

No entry for day trippers

'Hit and run' daytrippers are ruining Venice, say locals

‘Hit and run’ daytrippers are ruining Venice, say locals

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

Venice has a name for the tourists that do the most damage: “mordi-fuggi”, or “hit and run.”

Four out of five visitors to the lagoon city are daytrippers — and with 20 million of them a year, they outnumber residents on a typical day.

“Too often, their goal is to run to the main landmarks, St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge, and this check-list approach leads to overcrowding on the city’s main axis,” says Valeria Duflot, co-founder of Venezia Autentica, a social enterprise which encourages responsible tourism in the city.

“As they don’t stay overnight, they do not pay the tourist tax and therefore do not help residents pay to clean and maintain the city — although they have left trash and used the infrastructure.

“And they don’t see the city off-the-beaten-path or seek to spend their time and money at small local businesses which are fighting to survive.

“This also means that most of the businesses on that main axis are having a hard time to survive, if they are not catering to the needs and habits of visitors in a hurry. This is one of the reasons why cities like Venice are losing their authenticity and identity.”

Duflot calls daytripping “a symptom of an industry that has gone wrong.” The local authorities are currently drawing up plans to introduce an entrance tax for daytrippers, but the start date has already been pushed back, and there’s confusion about how it will be applied.

Dubrovnik, another victim of overtourism. It is also planning to introduce prebooking for bus and coach visitors, allowing just 10 buses to decant tourists every 30 minutes. Authorities will monitor the crowds in the city, and if they get too large, they will cancel some bus permits.

“On a busy day, we can cut three or four buses — it’s a valuable tool to plan,” Dubrovnik mayor Mato Franković told CNN.

The city already charges buses a drop-off fee which works out at around €5 ($5.50) per passenger. From 2021, it will also charge approximately €4 ($4.40) for cruise visitors.

Cruising for a bruising

Crystal Serenity in Croatia

Cruise passengers have been blamed for overcrowding in Dubrovnik

Crystal Cruises

All around the world, cruise ships are being blamed for overtourism, as ships disgorge thousands of passengers every day. The famously bijou ports of Europe are particularly badly hit.

The spotlight has inevitably been on Venice, where locals have staged regular protests against the cruise ships docking in the city center, dwarfing their surroundings.

In June 2019, a ship even crashed into a city center dock.

Dubrovnik is another city struggling to deal with the cruise crowds, and again, locals are taking action themselves.

One local travel agency even decided in summer 2019 to stop working with any visitors who were taking a cruise in Croatia.

“I was sickened,” he says of the stories. “So we tell anyone who’s taking a cruise that we simply won’t work with them… due to environmental reasons.

“We keep getting requests for day trips and I keep sending them the articles saying they should be aware that [cruises cause] a lot of damage.”

They have honored this season’s commitments, he says, but expect to turn down up to 300 bookings for next year.

“Travel is a wonderful business when you help travelers to really see Croatia and have a big impact on the local economy,” he says.

“It can be done in the proper way, but a cruise ship is not that.”

He says that cruise passengers, rather than other tourists, are “seriously damaging Dubrovnik” because of their sheer concentration.

“There’s an opportunity for everyone to visit Dubrovnik, but it has to be done in the proper way. Dubrovnik can do well with smaller ships, but [hosting] those with 3,000 people onboard is just insane. They’re all hurrying to Dubrovnik old town, hoping to pay as little as possible.

“The benefit for the local economy is zero.”

Grouping travelers together

Amsterdam is cracking down on group tours

Amsterdam is cracking down on group tours

ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Think booking a group tour will make your trip easier? Not in some destinations, which are making a stand against large groups.

Amsterdam has introduced legislation to ban groups of over 15 people in the center from 2020, as well as banning tours of the Red Light District entirely.

“We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers’ windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the Red Light District, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers. It is outdated to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs Simone Kukenheim told CNN.

The Dutch capital has also banned “free” tours, where guides encourage followers to join them, and request a donation at the end. Travelers on any group tour will also have to pay a tax, which is currently set at fee, currently set at 66 cents ($0.73).

Barcelona banned groups of 15 or more from the famous La Boqueria food market at peak times in 2015, after locals complained of being disturbed while grocery shopping.

The Japanese temple of Nanzo-in in Fukuoka Prefecture, famous for its huge reclining Buddha, refuses entry to foreign tour groups. It follows on the heels of the temporary closure of the Yatsushirogu shrine in Kumamoto Prefecture, reopened to visitors in 2018 having shut its doors on days that cruise ships were in port.

With global tourism hitting record figures — 1.4bn tourist arrivals in 2018, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization — destinations look set to become more and more likely to streamline who they want to let in.

So even if you don’t care about the effects your stay has on the local community, the community may be about to make you care.



Yokohama guide: Where to eat, drink, shop and stay in the Rugby World Cup final host city


Considering its size, influence and historical importance, Yokohama is often unfairly overlooked by visitors streaming to Japan’s capital next door.

But the country’s second biggest city deserves recognition in its own right. Today’s vibrant and cosmopolitan hub was just a small fishing village when Japan first opened its doors to foreign trade in 1859 and appointed Yokohama as one of its main ports.

Richly enhanced by the merchants and business people who settled there in the aftermath, it’s now home to a hard-to-beat skyline, uber-cool shopping malls, cutting-edge architecture and a lively craft beer scene. And it’s only a 20-minute bullet train hop from Tokyo.

And this weekend, it plays host to the England v South Africa Rugby World Cup final. Here’s what to check out outside of the stadium.

The Independent’s hotel recommendations are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

What to do

Aim high

To get your bearings, head up to the Sky Garden on the 69th floor of the Landmark Tower for unbeatable 360 degree views over the city. You’ll also be able to spot Tokyo beyond and, on a clear day, Mount Fuji – Japan’s highest peak. Try and go in the evening when the skyscrapers and quays dazzle with vibrant lights. Sky Garden opens Monday-Sunday 10am-9pm (10pm on Saturdays); entry 1,000 yen (£7).

Oodles of noodles

Japan loves its ramen, so don’t be surprised that Yokohama is home to not one but two museums dedicated to the iconic noodles. The Cup Noodles Museum pays homage to the instant variety through a series of interactive exhibits. Don’t miss the chance to make your own ramen in a pre-bookable workshop (extra fee). Open every day 10am-6pm; entry 500 yen. 

Make your own at the Cup Noodles Museum (Getty Images)

At the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum you’ll learn the history then eat your way through regional variations in nine traditional-style restaurants. The eating area, set in 1958 when Japan first launched instant noodles, has handy English menus. Generally open 11am-10pm; entry 310 yen (£2).

A taste of China

Yokohama is home to Japan’s biggest Chinatown, a legacy of when Chinese merchants settled here after it opened up as an international port. The vibrant, bustling district is a blaze of gold, red, pink, blue and green; make a grand entry through one of the four imposing gates, then join locals in grabbing a steamed bun, pancakes or dumplings from a street-side stall. For a heartier meal, many restaurants do all-you-can-eat deals for 1500-2000 yen (£11-14). Visit at night when dozens of lanterns sparkle into life – and don’t miss one of the numerous cake shops. Who knew the Chinese ate so much cake? 

Yokohama’s Chinatown (Getty Images)

Park up

For an introduction to Japan’s traditional architecture and landscaping head to the sense-enriching Senkeien Garden. Created by a wealthy silk merchant more than 100 years ago, it’s home to 17 history-rich buildings transported and reconstructed from across the country. Exhibits include an 18th Century farmhouse held together only by straw and a 500-year-old three-storey pagoda. They’re surrounded by elegant ponds, ornate flower beds and fruit trees guaranteed to soothe any city stresses. 

Now you see it

Yokohama Trick Art Cruise isn’t a sailing trip but a series of artworks containing optical illusions that immerse you in an imaginary boat journey. The idea is that you leap into the picture, take a snap of yourself then post it on the ever-important social media. You could find yourself popping out of the jaws of a shark, falling down a boat or diving with seals. Fun. Quirky. Oh so Japanese. Open every day 11am-8pm; entry 700 yen (£5).

Here for the beer

Take a free tour of the Kirin Beer Factory, one of Japan’s four main breweries. You’ll see how the beer is made and enjoy tastings. English tours available. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm.  

Where to stay

The Hotel New Grand, one of Japan’s oldest western-style hotels, has an elegant feel with tall stone arches, beautiful floral displays and marble staircases greeting you in the lobby. Opened in 1927, its first grand chef was legendary Swiss foodie Sally Weil who set about introducing Japan to European dishes like risotto and spaghetti napolitana, a tomato-based pasta. Even if you’re not staying, you can still pop in and try them today in the first floor cafe – one of six restaurants. Rooms have fabulous views of Yamashita Park, Osanbashi Pier or Yokohama Bay Bridge. From £124, room only.

Shaped like a huge yacht’s sail, the striking 31-floor InterContinental Yokohama Grand is handy for Minato Mirai and Chinatown. The rooms are classic rather than cool but you won’t be spending too much time looking at walls here as it’s all about the views. Rooms look out over either the bay or the city. From £119, room only.

For a budget stay in an authentic Japanese setting try the Guest House Futareno, a hostel set in a 50-year-old wooden house in an area buzzing with bars and restaurants. Choose from bunk beds in single-sex dorms or private rooms, all with shared bathrooms. The flooring is traditional tatami; guests change out of their shoes into the slippers provided. Beware of the 1am curfew when the doors are locked. No credit cards accepted. Dormitory beds from £21pp, twin rooms from £59.

Where to eat

Beef lovers should head to Araiya, famed for its teppanyaki and shabu-shabu-style hot pots like its signature dish, gyu-nikomi (stewed beef basted in a soy sauce broth and served over soba or udon noodles). 

If you’re hopeless at deciding what to eat, try Yoshimuraya. It invented Yokohama’s unique iekei ramen and serves nothing but. Only 15 people are let in at one time but for speed you order at a vending machine, hand in the token you’re given to the chef then tuck in around the counter with everyone else until the next shift is let in. The ramen come in a distinctive thick pork and soy broth topped with dried seaweed, spinach and an egg, although slight variations can be requested.

Follow the locals to tiny Shinku (no website), tucked away in a side street in the Noge district, for mouth-watering yakitori. There’s no English menu but you can have fun pointing out the cuts of meat you fancy so the chef can grill it to gooey perfection. Be prepared to queue as there’s only room for around a dozen diners at a time, all seated around a narrow bar. It’s worth the wait.

Where to drink

Wander around Noge, a lively district famous for its drinking scene, and dip in and out of its traditional sake shops and cool modern bars. Many are small but some have English menus.

Yokohama’s artisan beer scene has led to it being nicknamed Japan’s craft beer capital. The lively Taproom Bashamichi serves craft ales over three floors, including on a roof terrace. 

Taste your way through a few more at Spring Valley Brewery next to the Kirin factory. Try the beer flight – six different 100ml beers paired with a snack. 

Or spend an evening at the award-winning Yokohama Brewery. Don’t leave without sampling the most popular of their Japanese beers; the fruity Wiezen, inspired by Germany’s wheat beers, and the golden American-style pale ale.

Where to shop

Why have one shopping mall when you can have several all in one place – plus a park, fun fair, hotels, restaurants, bars, museums, galleries and theatres? The huge waterside development of Minato Mirai 21, built on a former shipyard, dominates Yokohama’s skyline with its eye-catching skyscrapers and uber-cool modern architecture; its name – voted for by the public – means “port of the future in the 21st century”. Browse several distinct malls with their own character, like World Porters, whose six floors are each themed – from fashion to homeware to Broadway (think amusements and cinemas). 

The on-site Cosmoworld amusement park houses roller coasters and rides plus a giant Ferris wheel which displays what was once the world’s biggest clock. If it all gets too much, recover with a stroll around the serene Yamashita Park. 

Architectural highlight

A great place from which to appreciate Yokohama’s striking waterfront is Osanbashi Pier, once the first place that welcomed foreign traders and now the main cruise ship berth. The wooden-slatted pier itself is designed to resemble the deck of a ship while on top of the terminal building lies a public park. Add to that the supreme views of the bay and Yokohama’s Three Towers – modern government buildings nicknamed King, Queen and Jack. 

View from Osanbashi Pier (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Nuts and Bolts 

What currency do I need?

Japanese yen.

What language do they speak?

Japanese. English is generally understood in tourist areas.

Should I tip?

No! The culture of tipping is alien to the Japanese, who believe good customer service should be a given. Tipping can cause offence.

What’s the time difference?

Nine hours ahead of GMT.

What’s the average flight time from the UK? 

British Airways flies direct to Tokyo’s two airports Haneda (also called Tokyo international Airport) and Narita in around 12 hours from £640 return. Trains to Yokohama from Haneda Airport take about 20 minutes, from Narita about 90 minutes.

Public transport

Yokohama’s trains and buses have extensive services and run like clockwork. Click here for maps. 

Best view

The perfect way to appreciate Yokohama’s amazing waterfront is from a boat. Several ferry companies operate hop-on-hop-off services.

Insider tip

Japan National Tourist Organisation (JNTO) runs a 24-hour hotline in English 365 days a year for visitors needing tourist information or help in an emergency. Call 050-3816-2787. 

 



Letter of Recommendation: Show Caves


A few months ago, driving south down Interstate 81 in no real hurry to get from New York to Georgia, I began to notice somewhere around central Virginia that I was surrounded by caves. It seemed strange how aggressively advertised they were in this part of the world. Their names tended toward the bombastic: Lost World Caverns and Endless Caverns and Forbidden Caverns and Lost Sea Adventure. They were the predominant genre of roadside attraction, their billboards jostling for space with those for nearby truck stops or for grim sentiments along the lines of “Lust Drags You Down to Hell.”

It wasn’t only an accident of marketing. Look at a dot map of cave systems in this country, and you’ll see a disproportionate concentration in Appalachia, a long and distinct smudge roughly parallel to the Eastern Seaboard. This is cave country, where there are enough holes in the earth that they’re split into two broad categories: “wild caves,” which necessitate athleticism and gear and courage, and “show caves,” their kitsch, consumer-oriented counterparts. Carefully stripped of all danger or spontaneity, show caves are engineered for tourism and maximum visual spectacle. The show-cave experience is less like spelunking and more like visiting the painted Styrofoam sets of a 1960s sci-fi movie.

Though show caves are not a specifically American phenomenon, their American iteration comes with a unique whiff of desperation and alluring entrepreneurial grift. See Virginia’s Luray Caverns, for instance, home to the “Great Stalacpipe Organ,” which produces tones via rock formations rather than metal pipes. See Niagara Cave, in Harmony, Minn., with its underground wedding chapel; Lost Canyon Cave, in Branson, Mo., with its subterranean bar; or Meramec Caverns, outside Stanton, Mo., which has been credited as the birthplace of the bumper sticker. They belong to that vernacular culture that developed in tandem with the flowering of America’s highway system, alongside motels, miniature-golf courses and roadside attractions like the world’s largest frying pan or ball of twine. See Ruby Falls, in Chattanooga, Tenn., where on billboards and barns for miles in every direction, you can’t escape the slogan: “See Ruby Falls.”

With its blend of equal parts hucksterism and natural beauty, Ruby Falls is emblematic of the show-cave business and its origins. Leo Lambert moved to Chattanooga in 1928 with a dream: to drill a hole into the center of a mountain. He hoped to restore access to some old caverns for tourists by way of an elevator shaft; in this way, he hoped to make a fortune. Several hundred feet into the sediment, however, a jackhammer hit a gust of air, revealing an entirely new entryway into some stranger, unexplored depths of the Appalachian Plateau. Lambert climbed into the hole and didn’t return for 17 hours. When he did, it was with breathless stories of a mystical-seeming waterfall, 145 feet high. “We travel through the valley,” he was known to say in those years, “but if God gives you a vision, that is a glimpse of the reality he has planned for you.” Lambert could understand this sort of discovery only in terms of divine providence. In any event, he was still a businessman.



Much more than a tropical paradise: This new travel guide will ‘decolonize’ the way you look at Hawaii


“The ‘Detours’ project first started out as (us) thinking through what it might be like to take the genre of the guidebook, take that shape, the framework that it has, and have people from here tell stories of place, rather than have somebody from outside come here and tell everybody else where to go, what hotels to go to, what are the places to see and what are the things to do,” said Gonzalez, associate professor of American Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.



Travel accessories that will save you money


Travelling can be expensive. But, there are plenty of ways to keep costs in check. In addition to purchasing airfare and accommodations with points and miles, you can also invest in clever travel accessories that will save you money down the road. Sure, you’ll initially have to fork over some cash to get these products, but you’ll quickly recoup your costs when you don’t have to spend more later. Here are nine travel accessories that will start saving you money the next time you hit the road.

Power bank

(Photo via Shutterstock)
If your phone isn’t alive to take a photo of your vacation, are you even really on vacation? (Photo via Shutterstock)

While carrying around a power bank is pretty much the norm these days, it can save you a lot of hassle and money to have a reliable one with hefty charging capabilities. Having to buy a coffee to sit somewhere and charge your phone — or pay to charge it at a pay port — will cost you both time and money. I suggest using an Anker PowerCore (a TPG staff favorite), such as the 20,000 mAh-capacity bank (from about £40), which is especially helpful if you need to recharge more than device at once. Despite being able to charge your iPhone 11 more than four times and being able to simultaneously charge two devices, it’s still small and lightweight enough (less than a pound) to stash in your carry-on.

Reusable water bottle

(Photo by @kocreate/Vapur)

One of the easiest ways to avoid extra costs when travelling is to bring your own reusable water bottle. You can also rejoice in knowing that you’re saving the planet one refill at a time instead of buying a plastic bottle. My personal favorite reusable water bottle is by Vapur. These lightweight bottles are collapsible, making them easy to roll up into your luggage, purse or even coat pocket when empty, as they expand only when filled with water. An added bonus: They’re dishwasher safe and BPA-free.

Travel apps

I still have nightmares about a Sunday evening years ago, in a village outside of Rome, where nothing was open and I couldn’t print my Ryanair boarding pass. (I was staying in an Airbnb rental, so there wasn’t even a reception desk with a printer.) The stress of knowing I’d have to pay £20 print it at the airport before my 6 a.m. flight, coupled with the annoyance of having spent my Sunday asking locals in broken Italian where I could find an internet cafe, could have been avoided if the Ryanair app existed back then!

Travel apps can help you save money and time — especially ones that are available offline. Specifically, apps like TripIt, airline and hotel apps, ride-sharing apps, maps/directions, even entertainment apps like Netflix, Spotify or Amazon Kindle apps can help you save money: You won’t need to buy magazines at the airport to stay entertained on a flight or paper maps. Flight and hotel search engine apps like Hopper or Hotel Tonight can also help you save money on purchasing travel, especially last minute.

Related: 30 essential travel apps every traveler needs

Multi-pocket travel clothing

Wearing multipocket clothing specifically designed for travel can help you make sure you never leave home without your travel necessities, and could even potentially save you excess baggage fees by freeing up space in your suitcase. This Baubax jacket, for example, comes with a built-in eye mask, bottle opener, safety whistle and neck pillow, among other clever accessories, meaning you won’t have to purchase those as extras. (We even reviewed all of the jacket’s 20-plus features.)

There’s also the ScotteVest — a chic, modern version of a fisherman’s vest, complete with pockets for everything from sunglasses and a camera to your phone, passport and more. Business travellers can also get in on the fun with a Bluffworks blazer that features 10 hidden pockets. Money belts can also be a good idea if you need to stash some cash away, and Speakeasy scarves have hidden passport pockets. Scarves can be a cash saver in many ways. You won’t need to buy a travel blanket, and they can double as skirts, shawls or sarongs if you need to cover up to visit a temple (sometimes these spots charge to rent or buy clothing to cover knees and shoulders).

Laundry kit

Longer trips usually mean you’ll need to pack more (and pay for more luggage), unless you can do laundry on the road. While it’s cheap and easy to send your laundry out in spots like Southeast Asia, it may not be as easy or affordable in the U.S. or Europe. Travel laundry kits are the perfect money-saving alternative to overpacking or spending a lot on a laundry service. This kit comes with a rubber sink stopper, a mini clothesline and small detergent packs, meaning you can wash your own clothes in the sink or tub, and the kit can easily be packed into your suitcase.

Waterproof phone case

Make sure your phone stays dry while abroad - better safe than sorry. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Make sure your phone stays dry while abroad – better safe than sorry. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Breaking your phone is always an annoying expense, but it can be an even bigger, more costly mess if you’re travelling, especially if you’re abroad somewhere you may not speak the local language or have access to an Apple Store. While protecting your phone with any waterproof case will help, I recommend a LifeProof case (available for both Apple and Android products), which is waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof and even drop proof up to almost seven feet. An iPhone 11 case starts at around £30.

Small luggage scale

If you’re a serial overpacker or just flying a low-cost carrier with extremely strict baggage rules, travelling with a small luggage scale can be a lifesaver. I particularly like the Camry Luggage Scale, which can be easily be stowed in a carry-on or checked bag to weigh luggage while on the road. With a strong strap to attach to luggage, the digital scale will tell you the weight of your bag in either kilos or pounds, up to 110 pounds.

Elite status

(Photo via Shutterstock)
The ultimate travel accessory: perks. (Photo via Shutterstock)

This is more of a virtual accessory, right? But while elite status may not be something you can pack in your carry-on, it certainly translates to some very visible perks: free checked bags, complimentary upgrades, priority boarding and more. While it may take some hard work to earn elite status, like mileage runs or lots of credit card spend, it could save you some serious cash in the long run.



The surprising Cornish village dubbed the British answer to Salem


An eerie mist creeps into the harbour. An owl hoots; a cat screeches; a door creaks. Welcome to the spooky village of Boscastle, the British equivalent of Salem, Massachusetts, according to one recent American travel guide.

Today is no ordinary day in this mostly-sleepy fishing port, for soon the streets will come alive with music and dancing as the village’s annual Dark Gathering gets under way. Started in 2014, the Dark Gathering is a parade of elaborate costumes, traditional musicians and “obby osses”, performers dressed in huge decorative horse outfits, pagan symbols representing death and rebirth.

Essentially it’s a unique and rather bonkers celebration of Hallowe’en that turns this particular…





Can a Restored Pompeii Be Saved From ‘Clambering’ Tourists?


Not everyone is as confident as Dr. Muscolino. Antonio Irlando, an architect and the director of the Osservatorio Patrimonio Culturale, a cultural heritage watchdog group, says that revenue from ticket sales must be supported by additional funds from the government. The conservation of Pompeii is “a duty that the government of Italy has to every Italian and to the whole world,” he said, adding that “a few years of lots of money is not enough to save Pompeii.” The focus, he stressed, must be on continual, painstaking maintenance.

One problem, Mr. Irlando claims, is that there are not enough guards to watch out for misbehavior among tourists. “Not everyone remembers that the excavations are an archaeological monument and not an amusement park,” Mr. Irlando said.

Managing tourist behavior has always been a challenge in Pompeii, an archaeological site that spans an area larger than 120 American football fields. And now tourist numbers are higher than ever. In 2009, nearly 2.1 million people visited. By 2018, that figure had risen to more than 3.6 million, an increase of more than 70 percent. This year, the number will be even higher. Nearly 450,000 people visited Pompeii in July, marking the highest monthly figure ever recorded.

And the behavior of visitors to the ancient city has long been troublesome. A small exhibition in the Antiquarium showcases stolen objects that visitors have sent back to Pompeii, claiming that the tiles, stones or figurines brought them bad luck. The new video cameras have improved surveillance, but the site is so big that plenty of areas remain unwatched.

“It is a risk. I’m glad that one third of the city is still buried,” said Glauco Messina, a licensed tour guide who added that he has seen visitors jumping barriers, picking up illicit mementos, touching frescoes, setting up tripods on fragile stone walls, and using flash photography, which can damage ancient paint. The situation isn’t helped by tourist companies that run unauthorized tours, often led by guides with uncertain qualifications.

“We’ve denounced them I don’t know how many times, but they’re still there,” Mr. Messina said of the unauthorized guides, who often lead very large groups and continue to operate in the park despite an official ban. Mr. Messina and other licensed guides — who must pass rigorous exams to earn their official “Guida Turistica” badges — warned that tourists should be wary of anyone who approaches them on the street outside the park. Tours with licensed guides can be booked inside Pompeii’s Porta Marina and Piazza Esedra entrances; official audio guides are also available inside the Porta Marina gate. Information can be found at pompeiisites.org/en/visiting-info.