The most popular places to visit in the United States and beyond are famous because of what they offer tourists.
At the end of a busy week of deadlines and childcare, some individuals just want to be entertained and catered to.
However, the flood of tourists to famous destinations has driven the locals from their homes, leaving only a shadow of authentic culture.
Traveling to Venice you may feel like you are submerged in the culture by eating gelato while taking a gondola ride, but that is exactly what they want you to think.
These experiences of traveling to heavily trafficked areas are not less exciting or memorable because they’ve been done millions of times before, but just goes to show how certain cities mask their true identity because whatever locals are left survive by catering to tourists.
A recent report released by Official Esta has brought to light cities that have an extremely high tourists-to-locals ratio, making it virtually impossible to offer a quiet, genuine weekend away.
In this coastal town, Cuban culture is the mainstay, luring people from all over the world with its Art Deco architecture, flavorful cuisine, and stunning beaches.
What many people don’t know as they walk among the beach shops and cruisers along the boardwalk is that tourists outnumber locals by more than 16 to 1.
So chances are the cruisers were rented and every shop you pass is owned by a local surviving strictly by catering to you. But it is still a fun place to dance the night away or catch a modern art show.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nevada is seated in the Mojave Desert and is surrounded by mountains, providing an arid environment with little vegetation.
This does not sound like a place people would flock to, but in Las Vegas, tourists outnumber locals by nearly 10 to 1.
But it’s not the possibility of catching a tumbleweed in action that attracts tourists, but the bright lights and vibrant nightlife of the world-famous Las Vegas strip.
While authentic, Nevada life and what you see on the strip have been conflated over the years, as the city survives by its tourist-friendly reputation.
Dubai, United Emirates
Dubai sounds like a mysterious and modern city rich with culture. And for the most part, it is.
High-end shopping and luxury services attract a more refined tourist, but that hasn’t stopped travelers from outnumbering locals by nearly 6 to 1.
Just be mindful of the laws and customs when visiting an Arab nation, because even if you outnumber them, their strict laws, such as no swearing (even in text), show no bias.
Others that also made the list, unsurprisingly, were Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Washington DC.
Anyone who has been to these areas have surely noticed the cameras yielded at every turn, and vendors soliciting you for a one-of-a-kind tour or memorable souvenir at every corner.
Maybe you like the excitement of the tourist industry and want a service-based experience where you’re entertained – and that’s ok. There’s plenty of it!
Or, you may be looking to shy away from cities that no longer offer the authentic, down-to-earth experience you crave.
In these instances, check out Proud American Traveler’s list of cities with under-tourism – these places desire your company and can give you an authentic experience.
Please let us know in the comments section what you think about tourists outnumbering locals in popular cities and if you think it takes away from the culture.