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How happy are people who live in tourism hotspots?

Whistling along to Pharrell or lamenting with Morrissey? You decide

On the surface, people living and working in tourism destinations would appear to be happy. Why else would travellers come from near and afar, if such places weren’t indeed full of cheery people?


But as evidenced by recent events, particularly in places like Barcelona and Amsterdam, where locals have rebelled against mass tourism, it’s obviously not always the case. 


Hoi An, Vietnam


However, are these angry hotspots aberrations or true reflections of sentiment within tourism magnet towns? 


A new major survey aims to shed some light on this increasingly important question. 


As well as attempting to measure the overall happiness found within travel hotspots, the global poll will also look to show how a community’s wellbeing matters more than GDP or rising wealth. 


Conducted under the moniker Planet Happiness, the survey will measure key indicators including “satisfaction with life, access to nature and arts, community engagement, standard of living, life-long learning, and health”. 


Available in 18 languages and open to anyone living/working in tourism hotspots, specifically UNESCO World Heritage destinations, the 15-minute online survey is the brainchild of NSW tourism consultant Dr Paul Rogers. 


Dr Paul Rogers


“The purpose of tourism in destinations such as Barcelona, Brasilia, Kakadu, Luang Prabang, Kyoto, Yosemite, Mt Everest, Victoria Falls and other renowned places is to strengthen and support the happiness and wellbeing of local people,” said Dr Rogers. 


“If tourism fails to do this, it is neither responsible nor sustainable, and local policies should change accordingly.”


Regardless of the poll results, Rogers believes the feedback would be useful for future tourism development. 


“The survey will show people where they are doing well compared to other tourism destinations, and possibly where they should seek to improve their lives,” he remarked. 


“It’s a new, fresh, more responsible and holistic way of looking at tourism.”


Paul (l) in Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) NP

With over 1.33 billion cross-border movements in 2017, travel and tourism is considered one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries. 


The online survey can be taken here


The Planet Happiness website will share feedback as results come in.


In the meantime, here are some happy tunes to help you through your week...



Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 17 September 2018

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