When a location becomes famous on Instagram, it will not be long before it’s flooded with crowds of visitors. This is the case of the Netherlands whose number of tourists in recent years has risen sharply. The Keukenhof, a famous garden, is visited by about 1.4 million visitors per year. Six years ago, the number was 800,000.
The problem emerged when a growing number of tourists started shooting selfies in the tulips fields, carelessly trampling flowers in a hurry to get the most beautiful picture ever for their Instagram profile. It didn’t take long for the local community to fight back and protect their tulip fields from the reckless tourists in any possible way. Simon Pennings was the first gardener to have fenced off his fields and issued warnings after one of his fields was damaged by the tourist groups, amounting to damage of 10,000 euros. Together with about 40 colleagues, Simon builds fences, posters, and signs that say “Enjoy the flowers, respect our pride”. They welcome tourist groups and lead them to more suitable selfie spots. His campaign is also supported by the Dutch Tourist Office. The authority has created a ‘dos and don’ts guide’. This is to show Instagram tourists how to take a selfie near a tulip field, without destroying the plants.
The situation of Dutch tulip fields is another example of how mass tourism can destroy places, especially the small ones as these natural beauty oases weren’t designed for a large number of visitors in the first place. Travel consciously, think tourism.