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My Journey

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Submitted By fiercebird1992
Words 1082
Pages 5
Effects of Tourism on Hot Springs Residents

COMM/215
July 14, 2014

Tourism in Hot Springs, Arkansas, over the years has slowly risen into a mass of pedestrians taking over the downtown area. There are tourists everywhere (easy to spot) taking pictures, jaywalking, visiting the bath houses, the hot springs and gathering drinking water from the springs, biker rallies, and many of the other touristic attractions available to them. Hot Springs is a beautiful area, and people from all over the state and the country come to visit. There are advertisements on the radio going into detail about the numerous things to do here that families will remember forever. Although tourism brings money into the city because there are a countless amount of activities that require money, or a parking fee, I feel as if tourism is gradually taking over hot springs, and making its residents feel overwhelmed. When tourists are out and about with their families, it is so easy to recognize them because they are either holding camera, dressed the same, wearing a shirt that says something to do with Hot Springs, or not using the pedestrian crosswalk. I have seen 2 instances of wrecks because of tourism. Tourism is not the primary cause for wrecks but here in this city, it happens. There are specified cross-walks for pedestrians, and if they see something they want to take a picture of, they run into the street (an entire family), otherwise known as jay walking, and people have had to stomp their breaks and the person behind them has to break check and that is where the wreck happens. Sometimes people will even have to get into the other lane with a quick reaction and hit the other person. I wish they would just use the crosswalks, and make the residents feel a little comfortable about driving downtown. The city water in Hot Springs does not seem the cleanest sometimes. There are springs available downtown and the residents and tourists of Hot Springs like to fill their water bottles, and enormous jugs with this refreshing clean water. I normally stop by there while on my run and fill my water bottle. There have been times where I have waited for almost 30 minutes. I remember one day specifically when my family and I were out running and there were two cars filled with families filling up their jugs. One car had a license plate from Rhode Island, and the other, Ontario, Canada. I thought to myself, what, in Hot Springs is so amazing that someone has to drive from so far away to visit. There is a very popular place that tourists go to relax and it is bath house row. It is one of the tourist attractions downtown and there are several things to do such as the spa baths and the massages. Sometimes bath house row is so packed that the lines are reaching the street. There are park rangers unnecessarily walking around directing traffic because of this, or simply patrolling the area because it is always full of people. I have lived in the downtown area for most of my life and it is such a hassle getting anywhere. I do not like leaving my house most of the time because I cringe at the thought of how long it will take me to leave that area because of the tourism. At one point tourism became so congested downtown that the residents (including myself when I was 16) got together and came up with a community petition that was passed. The increase in tourism made some parents in the area fear for their children’s lives because there is a place downtown called the Whittington Circle. Families like to walk around the circle or have picnics and simply have time away from the events of the cities. It got to the point where we would see a multiple number of out of state license plates driving through the area around 45 miles per hour. The speeding was very frightening and in some areas, pedestrians would have to walk in grassy parts because there was no sidewalk. The speed limit in that particular area, at the time, was 30. There was a petition formed and signed where the city officials had sidewalks built in all of the grassy areas and the speed limit was lowered to 25 mph. There are also cops required to monitor the area at all times of the day. Biker Rallies are one of the biggest events in Hot Springs. The event is held downtown and this is a resident’s worse nightmare. Biker’s come from all over the country for this 3-day event and this year will be the 9th annual rally. There is always a famous person that comes to perform, this year it is country singer, Trace Adkins, ("Hot Springs Rally", 2014) and for about a month leading up to the event, I hear complaints from all over Hot Springs that the rally will be taking place soon. What should be a 5 minute drive to the house takes about 20 minutes, and the loud revving noises from the motorcycles will leave your ears in pain. It scares me more than annoys me though. Some of the motorcyclist will drive right next to each other in one lane. Some will tailgate you, and others speed and hoot and holler to let you know they are in town. It gets out of hand but since it gets lots of attention it does not seem that this type of behavior will be taken care of anytime soon. Tourism has affected my family, friends, and neighbors. The city finds it profitable because tourism brings in money. It affects the environment as well. The consequences of exceeding the environmental capacity include strain on already scarce resources such as water, energy, food and natural habitat areas (Graci, 2010). Just because people want to get out and take pictures does not mean that people who dwell here should have to bring their lives to a halt. I do not wish that tourism was banned; only minimized. There are no specified times for these activities to take place. There should be required times when people can crowd the downtown area so that we residents can be at peace.
References

Graci, S. (2010). The Responsible Traveler Guide. Retrieved from

http://green.hotelscombined.com/Rtg-Negative-Impacts-of-Tourism.php

Hot Springs Rally. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.thehotspringsrally.com/…...

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