Do you think it’s reasonable that tourists pay more than the locals?

 

While some have resigned to being charged more than the locals when travelling, other tourists are taking a stand against the price hikes.

 

The issue is more complex than tourists tend to think, as the prices that tourists are charged can often help the local economies of the destinations they’re visiting.

 

Award-winning travel photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström says that tourists should be okay with paying higher prices. She told ABC Life: 

 

"I truly believe travellers should be OK with paying higher prices as foreigners," Lola says.

 

"Aside from opening their land, country and homes to us as travellers, there might also be income disparities between visitors and the locals.

 

"Your one lavish dinner might equal the cost of someone's monthly rent."

 

However, one other traveller disagrees as they were charged a huge rate for a short journey while travelling overseas.

 

Gunnar Garfors broke the record for being the youngest hobby traveller to visit all 198 countries in the world.

 

However, one cab ride in 2009 stands out as his worst rip-off attempt.

 

"My brother Oystein and I stopped a taxi in Riga," he says. "We told the driver we were headed to the airport. 'Please use the meter,' I asked. He didn't respond, but turned it on — seemingly reluctant.

 

"In less than a minute, the meter had managed to clock up almost 10 euro, more than what we'd normally pay for the entire trip to the airport [a 10-15 minute drive from town]. I have never seen a meter run like that before. It looked like a stopwatch. 

 

"We weren't in the mood to fight so we asked him to pull over, I paid him and we left.

 

"He immediately sped off. He had probably pressed a hidden button on the meter. There is no way he could get away with charging locals anywhere near what he had done to us. We managed to stop another car a few minutes later, and he drove us all the way to the airport for a fiver."

 

He believes that the prices should be the same for everyone, regardless of whether or not you’re a tourist.

 

"I think prices should be the same for everyone," he says. "Travel is about creating a mutual understanding between people of different cultures, backgrounds and faiths. It can create lasting friendships, new ideas and opportunities.

 

"But then, we should strive towards equality and sustainability. Tourists should compensate for any pollution or damage, but this needs to apply to anyone — local or foreign."

 

The price you pay as a tourist is dependent on the country you’re travelling in, as well as the situation you find yourself in. For some locals, tourism impacts their lives greatly whereas others won’t be impacted at all.

 

Despite the differing opinions, it’s a personal choice as to whether or not you’re okay with paying more than the locals.

This article appeared on Over60.