countries

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Europe | Montenegro

Kotor / Cruise out of Control: Consumerism on Vacation,

Ethics Left at Home

the ugly dynamics of a journey sold as destination

   It was quiet in the early mornings and late at night. When they stayed inside their mega-hive. They came out during the day. Then the entire tourist swarm would buzz through the tiny alleyways, all drones at once, all hungry for nectar, sucking on the little town for stimulation, sights, souvenirs, and set menus. One day, two days, then they were full. Maybe the next cruise ship would dock in Kotor the same day, or the day after.

 

"Of course, like with all needless and senseless consumption, the cheap cruise tickets came at a price. I had met those who pay it."

Without a doubt, the spectacle had a comical element, but mostly it was ugly. I don’t know what felt more appalling – the thing itself or the unawareness of those in it. I guess both. Both were most appalling. The whole shebang was the epitome of vacationer overconsumption. Vacation on low-budget steroids. Of course, like with all needless and senseless consumption, the cheap cruise tickets came at a price. I had met those who pay it. In Indonesia they had told me first hand of the modern day slave labor conditions faced by Southeast Asian chambermaids and others working in the underbellies of those behemoths. And the ethical implications of consumerism in vacation mode don’t stop there – the ocean beasts run on the world’s dirtiest fuels, and plenty of it. They dump waste in the oceans. The list goes on. Regulations and controls are lax.

It is all well known. Just not to those 30 million yearly passengers who keep the industry growing, apparently. Or maybe they know. It wouldn’t be the first industry we employ in the thin name of pleasure while consciously ignoring how it wreaks havoc on nature and lives.

"Someone had figured out how to sell the journey as destination. And sell it did."