I loved exploring the sights of Venice, Italy. I wandered through quiet squares where locals pegged washing out and gossiped. I was often the only tourist in the back alleys. Yet when I visited St mark’s Square, the place was crowded with tourists of every nation. Why didn’t those people stray far from the square?
The same thing happened when I went to Petra. Most people walked the one kilometre (half a mile) to the amazing treasury building and went no further. Some went to the next section. I explored the furthest reaches and was one of only a handful to do so.
Last week I was in the Blue Mountains, outside of Sydney, Australia. Of the thousands of people who ride the scenic railway each day, only a handful walked to the nearest lookout. The number that went further along the forest path fell dramatically again. Despite a very full carpark not far away, we had entire swathes of pathway in the middle of the forest to ourselves.
London has hordes of tourists in key spots yet mere streets away, I can be one of a handful of non-locals. Of the 50 million tourists that visit New York’s Time Square each year, how many go to Roosevelt Island or Pomander Walk?
It seems that from my experience most tourists go for the most accessible, easy to find listed sites.
This got me thinking. Is there some mathematical formula for this phenomena? Eg do 50% of tourists visit the most well known places? Do 30% go a little further? Does that leave 15% that push more and five percent who explore the place backwards?
What do you think?