Showdown: Tulips vs. the selfie-taking tourist

Journeying through the Netherlands in spring will bring you face to face with a beautiful sight: tulips decorating the country with colours of red, white and blue. But these flowers are beginning to experience a threat from selfie-taking tourists, according to Reuters.

A record number of over a million tourists were expected to visit the Netherlands during Easter weekend, the Dutch Tourism Bureau said last week. Director Joe Vranken said to Reuters that the foreign sightseers are expected to spend €300 million. Most of the time, many of them feel attracted to the plethora of the country’s cultural offerings. But, in April, many flock to the tulip fields. And while the photographs the tourists share on social media act as free advertising for the local tourism industry, there is an issue arising from the influx of flower-fanatics. 

“That has a downside,” Vranken said. “Farmers are having increasing damage to their fields from tourists taking photos.” What happens is that instead of taking photos at the edge of the tulip fields, people will often step into the tulips for pictures, damaging the flowers as they trample over them. To combat this practice, tulip farmers are posting signs printed in Chinese and English that say, “Enjoy the Flowers, Respect Our Pride.”

Meanwhile, farmers in less-promoted regions see an opportunity. In Creil, one group has set up a “Tulip Experience” that includes hundred of tulips, helicopter tours, food and drinks, and yes, designated selfie areas.


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