Traveller Letters: Tourists have ruined this town ... and I was one of them

SUDDEN IMPACT

In July 2019 we visited Hallstatt, Austria, and I was ashamed for being one of those tourists. Fortunately we enjoyed more of the surrounding lake and Obertraun and the high alpine peaks and the famous ice caves accessed by cable car. But then we descended to the day tripper rabble that have really ruined this town. Very few tourists spend a cent there which is tragic. They bus in and raid the place and bus out. We ate, bought some souvenirs from true locals and not the casual migrant workers exploiting this town and departed across the stunning lake to the train, ashamed at our impact. I hope the townspeople get what they wish for and a better tourist emerges.

Paul Gee (via Facebook)

GUIDING LIGHTS

We have been wondering how to help our favourite travel guides in Thailand, now that there is no-one to pay for day-trips, so no income in a country with no state welfare. An offer to send a donation to one such guide was met with a humble refusal. However, we decided to offer to pre-book and pay for a couple of tours with this guide, to save for future travel. He accepted this solution, as he could eventually provide something for our money. If you know of a guide who is struggling, why not approach them to tee up a couple of future day-trips? Everyone wins. It's not much for us, but it may help him and his family for a little while, and provides a way of sending support without overt 'charity'.

Sally Pope, Five Dock, NSW

CLASS WARFARE I

Wayne Robinson states that economy class travel should be dumped in light of the coronavirus pandemic and have premium economy or business class only. Does Mr Robinson think it is reasonable for thousands of Australian families who have friends/family who live in Europe to pay a minimum $3000 a person (assuming a premium economy fare with Cathay Pacfiic, or Singapore Airlines) a year to see their loved ones? For many families, overseas trips are deeply valued travel experiences in which a massive hike in the cheapest airfare would make the opportunity to see their loved ones unattainable. Hypothetically, if everyone bought premium airfares, this would increase emissions as more aircraft would be required for the same amount of people to travel overseas given that premium classes are less space efficient than economy class.

Harrison Mendes, Gordon, NSW

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CLASS WARFARE II

By removing economy class you are returning air travel to the elite days where only the rich could afford to travel. Economy class is not the cause of COVID-19 and once the world finally recovers (feasibly not for two years) then there's no reason not to fly economy. I agree, airlines need to be more generous with seating, but please don't advocate cutting the majority of travellers out of the opportunity to holiday in far away places - and let's face, almost everywhere is far away from Australia. Oh, and by the way, I loved Ben Groundwater's review of his in-law's house - great to have a smile right now.

Jo Furbank, Caulfield North, VIC

CLASS WARFARE III

Wayne Robinson, if we get rid of economy fares will be very very high and tourism businesses will not survive due to lack of people flying anywhere on holidays. If you're worried about pollution, stop driving your cars. Cars pollute thousands of times more than aircraft, due to sheer numbers.

Craig Joseph Mathews (via Facebook)

AIRLINES AND GRACES I

We would like to say a grateful thank you to Cathay Pacific. A full and complete refund for our cancelled flights has just been deposited back into our account. An excellent customer service staff member dealt with our request efficiently and compassionately. Future travel with them (whenever that happens) is assured.

Mandy Bernard and Peter Alexander, Ashburton, VIC

AIRLINES AND GRACES II

Full marks to Japan Airlines (JAL). When international flights were being restricted in early March and lockdowns appeared likely, JAL acknowledged the probable disruptions to plans for international travel and offered full refunds for cancellations of flights up to the end of April, waiving the $300 cancellation fee. On March 17 I cancelled my April 19 flight to England and within a week the refund had been processed.

Cathy Harnack, Toormina, NSW

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