The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), “a United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism”, reports that destinations worldwide received 671 million international tourist arrivals between January and June 2019, almost 30 million more than in the same period of 2018 and a continuation of the growth recorded last year. The drivers of these results have been a strong economy, affordable air travel, increased air connectivity and enhanced visa facilitation.

First, who knew there was a United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism? I wonder if the UNWTO sanctioned the rape of Venice by mega cruise ships floating up the Canale Grande? Or are they the ones responsible for the closing of Maya Bay in Thailand due to over-tourism? I mean, everywhere you look these days there’s a bloke dashing at you on a mountain bike, or Instagrammers or YouTubers or Selfie-takers getting in your way and ruining the best spots, sometimes forever. One would think the UNWTO would have a handle on these things.

The solution: virtual reality. Everybody stay home and put on your VR gear and go on the trip of a lifetime, just like in the Total Recall movie. Or build fake Venices and Hallstatts and go there, like the Chinese do.

Even better: sensory suits worn by expert travelers that you can dial into live via your VR suit. Experience what they experience, from free-style mountain climbing to burning your bum on Sichuan hot pot.

Stay home. You don’t have to go everywhere. And if your home sucks use your travel money to make it better. That will raise the GDP too.

Tourism contributes 10.4% to the global GDP. Too bad.

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