Here’s my modest proposal that allows us to cherish the precious places of the world, yet ensure tourism revenue continues to create the vertically integrated employment integral to swaths of locales around the world now weaned and dependent on tourism dollars.
We do this by manufacturing experience elsewhere. After all, most of the experience in mass tourism, even at real places, is simply a facsimile of what legitimate engagement requires, which is appreciation tempered by time.
The plan is to buy a large section of deserted land and recreate world attractions currently under siege by tourism. These would include:
- Venice (San Marco and the Grande Canal as far as the Rialto Bridge)
- Ephesus, Turkey
- Giza (the collection of Pyramids and the sphinx close to Cairo)
- St Peter’s – basilica, square and Sistine Chapel in Rome
- The Parthenon in Athens
- Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Easter Island, Chile
- Stonehenge, UK
- Topkapi Palace, Turkey
- are there places that should be on this list that I’ve overlooked? Leave a comment.
Each of these attractions would be faithfully recreated on different sections of the land, down to the smallest details. For example, there would be gondolas and pigeons in the Venice creation, a hard hike into Machu Picchu and “freelance” camel rides on offer in the Giza area (periodically chased-off by police… just like the real thing). Scientists would help craft the experience by producing replica site smells, aural landscapes and perhaps even texture the air. The goal in every aspect would be authenticity.
The remarkable difference with this concept is that Venice would be just a few miles from Peru, Greece and Giza would be mere steps apart and Cambodia would be a short bus ride from the UK.
In the centre of this area developers would build hundreds of hotels, malls selling all manner of kitsch and restaurants of every imaginable flavour. This centre would include a modern airport, integrated transportation links between the passenger arrival centre and all areas of the complex. And building it far enough away from anywhere else would ensure quality control, non-competition and the creation of a fully processed and designed experience.
This new world-class destination would be called Hoi Polloi. Imagine being able to offer a Great Stones package – Easter Island, Giza and Stonehenge for just $799, an all inclusive experience at a three star hotel. Or perhaps a Sacred Spaces package which features St Peter’s, Ephesus and St Mark’s Basilica in Venice in a five day, four-night extravaganza for just $599.
And to enhance the authenticity of this project, a dedicated and residential workforce would be needed, thousands of employees to handle everything from cooking and cleaning to selling trinkets, grooming camels and removing graffiti. And where to get this workforce? The Maldives. After all, the whole country is looking for new digs and in this way, moving an entire nation to Hoi Polloi would not only save a people group but also provide consistent long term and varied employment. It would also integrate a homogeneous culture into an innovative ground level, experience-creation opportunity.
To the naysayers who view with a skeptical eye the creation of Hoi Polloi I ask: is this any different than a museum, where artifacts are presented out-of-context yet in a controlled and informed way?
What are the benefits of building Hoi Polloi, the new standard in the experience simulation industry?
- It saves real places
- It creates employment
- It reduces pollution, especially the carbon footprint of tourists who would otherwise fly to several place to experience the same number of destinations as would be available within a few square miles at Hoi Polloi
- It creates an authentic facsimile experience for tens of thousands, and in many cases does so much more enjoyably – for example no more back ache walking around San Marco because instead of hiking in on rough cobblestone it’s just a short stroll from where the coaches drop you off
- It saves a nation at risk
- It uplifts and engages and creates custom experiences
Hoi Polloi would also divert mass tourism from the real treasures of the world, allowing the original locales to devote themselves to a more custom tourism experience and perhaps create a new trend – slow travel (not unlike the slow food movement).
Investors interested in this stunning new opportunity can contact me.