Re: A certain level of tourism, Reader Feedback, August 18 - 24, Vol 9, No 31
I have just returned from a seven-day holiday in the Tatras, staying in a private rented cottage in a small village just south of Tatranská Lomnica.
It was a grand, almost perfect week, as one would expect from a holiday in the Tatras, except for one thing: There were far too many of us!
During the last couple of weeks, I have contributed to the discussion offered by The Slovak Spectator on ways to improve Slovakia's tourist image and attract more visitors. After this recent holiday, I now hold the opinion that attracting more visitors to Slovakia at this time would backfire, and leave a bad taste in the mouths of many, which might last for years into the future, spreading out exponentially among their friends.
Slovakia does not have the infrastructure to handle more tourists than it already has; it can hardly handle its August flow.
I say this after a week in which Tatra trails often had the character of a Bratislava sidewalk at lunch hour, and the terrible excuse for highways in eastern Slovakia not only help to cause serious road accidents, but lead to extensive traffic jams . . . one of which we sat in for a very long time, taking an hour to get twenty kilometres.
Until Slovakia is able to bring its antiquated, dangerous highway system from the 19th century into the 21st, I am afraid that the experience of tourists who venture out of Bratislava is not going to be positive, and the resulting bad taste could be damaging to the country's image for decades.
First things first. Build the roads and they will come.
2. Sep 2003 at 0:00