Tourism - how much is too much?
From Julie C
Sunday, 20 August 2017
As I reached the bus stop in front of the Park today, an elderly friend of mine was having his photo taken as he sat on the wall waiting for his bus. The perfectly polite and friendly, Australian lady and her partner, one with a tablet, the other a phone, were asking his name and declaiming about the wonderful town where we live and how lucky we are to live here.
Chatting on the bus he said too many people were 'discovering' Hebden Bridge, and that the day before on the station, somebody else had taken his photo and then insisted that they record his voice.
Tourism, my Dad used to say, is Prostitution - well maybe a bit over the top, but I think he had a point. I hear that Venice and the Isle of Skye have been feeling over faced and over exposed recently. Hebden Bridge is only a little town, and though it needs customers for its shops, pubs and cafes, it needs to remain livable in, a place where residents too can shop, bump into friends and stop and chat. It's fast losing that I think. What do you think?
From Andy M
Monday, 21 August 2017
I don't share the view that the town is losing something due to increased (?) numbers of people visiting. I find Hebden as liveable in as I did 23 years ago when I first moved here and still routinely stop and chat to friends in the street, shops and cafes.
I'm reluctant to label people as day-trippers/ tourists etc because then it feels like a short step to 'offcumdens' and other discriminatory nonsense; we're all people and just how much is too much and who decides just what that arbitrary limit is? You can always pick out a few incidents of what might be called over-intrusiveness but, even then, these people are presumably genuinely interested in the place?
And Hebden has been holiday/day trip destination for a very long time now: a report of a 'cheap trip', by 3,200 people on the Manchester & Leeds Railway from Hebden Bridge to Hull in 1844, noted:
'Our town has again and again...been thronged with wondering and delighted strangers, in search of cheap and rational enjoyment; and to use the expression of the dramatist, “the cry is still they come!” (Ref: Susan Major DPhil Thesis 2012)
Plus ca change!
From Phil M
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
I love the vibrancy of Hebden and find no difficulty whatsoever in living here and doing what needs to be done.
The people who come to Hebden to visit do so because its a lovely place, with great shops, great live music and entertainment and great places to eat, drink, kick back and relax.. they also come for history and the proximity to great walks and natural resources.
It puts a smile on my face as I walk down the hill and see the square full of people having fun. I still wander through and see friends and say hello.
I am happy to share the place as it keeps everything ticking along..