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Note: Our views on Tourist Pricing have completely changed since writing this article. It’s amazing how we grow and learn as we travel. While there are still good arguments on both sides, we now believe (strongly) that all people deserve to see the sights in their own country. It is unfair that tourists can afford to visit the Pyramids of Giza while (even with tourist pricing), many Egyptians will never see them.

Tourist pricing brings us together and allows us to better share the wonders of the world, no matter our level of wealth. It may seem annoying for travellers, but I would personally rather pay more and visit sites with the authenticity of being surrounded by locals, rather than locking out those whose ancestors built them, simply because they can’t pay enough. That would leave us with a world of wonders mainly visited by white people and that’s unfair.

I’m going to keep the rest of the article as it is because it’s how we felt at the time, but we are slightly ashamed to have had such a narrow view just a few short years ago. We will never agree with people stealing or ripping off tourists because they are white, vulnerable or unaware, but general, attraction-based tourist pricing should be accepted by those who have the fortune to experience things that require an entrance fee.

All travellers have probably encountered “Tourist Pricing” at one point or another during their travels. When we arrive at a famous site, we always look in our guide-book to see what the cost of entrance should be. We then look up from our book only to see a new price listed on the entrance board. Inevitably, the government or the site owner has decided to charge tourists 10-200 times more than locals for the ticket.

For example, in Sri Lanka, it costs 18¢ for locals to visit Sigiriya, the cost is $35 for tourists.

Sigiryiya - 30¢ For Locals, $35 For Tourists
Sigiriya – 18¢ For Locals, $35 For Tourists

The argument is almost always the same: “tourists make more money than locals and can afford to pay more.” But does that make the concept legitimate? In this article we will pick apart both sides of the story to see if tourist pricing is right, or wrong.

“Tourists Make More Money Than Locals”

In many cases this is correct, but it certainly isn’t an all-encompassing truth. If indeed all tourists did make more than all locals in the given country, then surely it would be fair for them to pay more… but this simply isn’t true. All tourists enter the Pyramids Of Egypt and pay $10 alongside Egyptian oil tycoons and resort owners who pay only 50¢. If there was a T-4 (tax form) check at the entrance, then this argument could hold its ground. Given the absence of any financial checks, this argument is wrong as it’s no longer about wage, but about color of skin and nationality, which simply boils down to discrimination.

“Locals Pay For The Upkeep Of The Sites With Taxes, So They Should Pay Less”

central asia to do listThis is possibly the most valid of arguments in this article and one that is worth a look. Locals often do pay a government tax for the upkeep of their own sites, so perhaps they should pay less. The problem with this argument is that, unfortunately, it is almost always locals who damage the sites and cause them to need repair. Anyone who has travelled has noticed graffiti on even the most stunning of historical sites. It doesn’t take long to realize that ALL of the graffiti is in the local language, and if it is in English it is either broken English or it says something like: “Mohammad was here”, which clearly incriminates the local violator.

From our experience, tourists don’t generally deface or damage sites, the local people do.

“Tourism Is Big Business For The Local Economy And The Government Should Maximize Profits For The People”

This is absolutely true, tourism is BIG business for many developing nations. Tourists come from thousands of miles away to spend their hard earned money on a nice vacation. The government, shop owners, hotels, transportation services and restaurants already benefit a huge amount from an influx of tourism. But the fact of the matter is that 4 out of the 5 pre-mentioned services are the exact same price for locals and tourists. So why does the government get to charge 10 times more for travellers to visit sites? And how much of that actually makes it down to the people? This argument too is flawed.

“If Tourists Have Enough Money To Come To ________, Then They Have Enough To Pay For ________.”

Most of the time, this is probably a true statement, and it’s sad that many local people haven’t seen major sites in their own country because of the cost. The truth is that we have never seen Niagara Falls, but if we went there we know that we, as Canadians, would pay the same as the Chinese and the Ethiopians because that is what’s fair. The only difference in price would be a senior citizen, student and children’s discount. Imagine if we decided to charge Saudi Arabians more because the travelling Saudis tend to be very wealthy. That would be a human rights outrage.

800px-Air_Berlin_Boeing_737-700_D-AHXD

The bottom line is that there should be no tourist pricing. Even if it’s just a few cents more, there’s just no need for it. Nations and their governments should feel honored that foreigners want to travel thousands of miles to see their beautiful country and gaze at their outstanding sites. This should be celebrated, not taken advantage of. There is no way to justify charging people more, or treating people differently based solely on their nationality or the coluor of their skin. Period.

What Do You Think?

Should tourists pay more than locals? Have you ever experienced tourist pricing? How did it make you feel?

Please share your opinion below.

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46 thoughts on “Tourist Pricing: Is It Right Or Wrong?

  1. Love the take home message :-)….

    As a Canadian living in Egypt right now, I experience this on a daily basis, Very rarely have I ever got the “Egyptian Price” for anything I’ve purchased here. It just feels incredibly unfair….. And your comparison with Niagara Falls is spot on.

    My wife and I are going to India over the winter break and looking at guidebook for the sites there, the discrepancy between tourist & local prices is ridiculous – 750 rupees for Taj Mahal for tourists, 20 rupees for locals…..

    The practice of “tourist pricing” will by no means result in us travelling less, but its does leave you with a little bit of resentment, which ultimately means your experience isn’t as good as it otherwise would’ve been….

  2. This is a really tricky question, and a very interesting topic; glad you brought it up. I agree with most of your points, and although I’ve been indignant at having to pay way more than locals often (the €65 entrance fee for Petra compared to the €1 fee for Jordanians comes to mind), I still can’t make up my mind about whether I feel this is wrong or right.

    In Chile earlier this year, when visiting national parks, there was often a difference in price for Chileans and foreginers. I asked the ticket saleswoman once whether this meant that for Chileans and other Latin Americans there is one price, and for other foreigners, a different price. She corrected me, that no, it is in fact one price for Chileans and another price for everyone else, and that you had to show some form of Chilean ID to get the local price.

    That seemed fair to me, or at least fairer than charging, for example, Spanish speakers one price, and non-Spanish speakers another: at least it was based on being a citizen and therefore (at least potentially) contributing towards the upkeep of the park with your tax contributions.

    That then raises the question, is just being a citizen or resident enough to entitle you to the services and amenities of your country? I haven’t paid any tax in the UK for a while now, because I haven’t been earning enough money to do so. However, I am still entitled to free medical care in the UK (and by extension, all of the EU) just because I’m a citizen with residency there. Is this right or wrong? I don’t know.

  3. I´ve experienced that on a daily basis in India, Thailand, Malaysia… Seems like Asian countries love to suck in our pockets like vampires. They assume that because were white we´re all rich, but the fact is that I´m for a very poor European country where there´s no work, no money, nothing but recession and crisis whereas I´ve seem too many rich Indians strolling around in their massive cars, wearing gold and diamonds, which is something I would never be able to afford.

    Discriminating people based on their skin color or easterner vs westerner is pure racism. The best thing we can do, it to simply boycott it. I didn´t enter basically ANY site in India. I made my trip spin around the people, the culture, the food and the experience rather than monuments and pricey sights. Same with Thailand.

    Here in Portugal everyone pays the same, local or not. I can´t even imagine the scandal it would be if suddenly Arab or black people would be force to pay 3x more based on their skin color. Well, I’d like to be treated equality and respectfully.

    ‘m 100% against it and won´t pay more than anyone else.

  4. I get it. It’s reverse racism so it’s seemingly ok but I don’t agree with it. God forbid anyone charges a minority group more then it would be complete and utter world-wide outrage.

    I have tried to assimilate with a local to get local pricing. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. But I have to say, local pricing even happens in Australia. Go find yourself a Mandarin/Cantonese speaking restaurant there are local prices, if you speak the language and spot the charges it’s ok it can/will be removed otherwise the price at the bottom is what you pay, the rest is just characters.

  5. I live in NYC and I wish tourist vs. local prices existed. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pay LESS than the tourists who flock here every day. The Metropolitain Museum of Art has something similar…a pay what you want admission, but it’s written in such small lettering that tourists don’t see it and end up paying $25

  6. I’m not a big fan of it. At least in SE Asia the amounts are so small it doesn’t really make a difference. It was more annoying in Europe where as a non EU citizen we missed out on a lot of freebies.

    I think our museum here has tourist pricing, which is nice for us as locals as we can afford to go ourselves, but it’s a huge ripoff for visitors.

  7. I live in Las Vegas and local vs tourism pricing for many thing sis rampant. It’s usually sectioned for entrances to clubs or prices of hotel rooms and the cost of shows, and it usually is only 10 or so less (but sometimes you can find local deals at half off), but you have to show las vegas (not nevada) address on your ID, and it is because they know locals won’t pay the ridiculous prices places charge.

    I don’t mind tourist rates if it is a few dollars more, but $65 versus $1? NEVER!

    Though, I did pay $140 to enter Chile at the airport (UK was $120, Germany $40, all other’s free), but I chalked it up to visa cost and it is good for 10 years.

    If it is small I feel go for it. A couple bucks for me is a family’s dinner in some places, but if it’s more than a dollar or 2 I will argue or refuse to partake ot purchase something.

  8. Hey Marcus,

    I agree completely, and we’ve been to the Taj and were pretty disappointed in the pricing there as well. There are a lot of different angles to go on this and even though this article was very one-sided, i still find myself arguing with myself on this topic.

    Either way you look at it, you’re exactly right. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth and doesn’t feel good to be charged differently.

    Thanks for the comment.

  9. Hey Sam,

    You raise a few good points there. I agree with you, it’s a lot better when it is based on citizenship (which it usually is). We lived in China for a year however, and we still paid foreign prices.

    It really depends on how you look at it. If a foreigner can live in the country and obtain a citizenship or residency card and get the same price, then it’s really not too discriminatory.

    Like I said to Marcus above, I find myself arguing with myself on this one! All I know is that it’s annoying when I have to pay 100 times more because I’m a foreigner. Maybe a Cap is in order. Maximum double price.

  10. Hey Yara,

    I agree, when it’s based on skin colour, ethnicity or religion it’s completely wrong, but Sam made a good point above. What if it’s based solely on residency. If you live there, and you’re white, you still get the discount. There are places like this. would you agree with it in this case?

    Also, I love that you planned your trip to emphasise the culture, cuisine and people etc., but don’t you worry that you may be missing out on some very interesting history and sites based on a principle?

    I’m all ears! What do you think?

  11. Hey Roma,

    I’ve never heard of that in Australia! That’s brutal because it’s basing the prices solely on your ability with language! I’d be furious. The places that charge us more because we aren’t local isn’t so bad because we can live there, obtain residency and get the same deal, but to rip people off because they can’t read Chinese is brutal.

    We’re learning more and more that there are things in Western countries that charge less for locals. I just went the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver and was astonished to see that locals get a 1 year pass for the same price as foreigners get a one time pass! NOT GOOD!

  12. Hi K,

    Interesting Take. In this case they should offer some kind of seasons pass or something for locals, so you could go as many times as you like. The Capilano Bridge in Vancouver has this kind of tourist pricing. I think it should still cost a bit more than the one-time entrance fee, but at least locals could go again and again.

    Also, I’ll have to remember that museum pricing when I visit NYC. I think I want to pay $5. haha.

  13. Hey Dani,

    I agree with you, when it’s small it seems somewhat justified. I just wonder where we should draw the line. If we’re basing our decision not to pay solely on the principal, then it doesn’t matter if its 10 cents or 10 dollars more. But the fact is that if we pay an extra dollar for a site, it’s not worth getting upset about.

    But those sites where we pay 300 times more… they’ll piss you off every time.

  14. Based on residency alone? Depends, if it’s just a bit more expensive it’s ok since residents pay taxes to maintain the sites, but if it’s 10 or 20x more expensive, no way!
    As you mentioned in the article, locals are usually the ones who damage most of the sites, this is very true.

    I didn’t feel I missed on anything anywhere. While in India. I refused to pay entrance for the Taj Mahal, I saw it from the outside, but do you know what? I ended up visiting a few amazing spots no tourists visit, because everyone is visiting the Taj only.
    We woke up before sunset and had a really nice DIY tour with a local rickshaw driver who showed some amazing sites in Agra. I took the most breathtaking photos there. I’m so glad we decided to exchange the expensive Taj for all the other hidden treasures!

    Same with the rest of India and Nepal.
    In a few occasions when the prices were too absurd, we managed to sneak in….

  15. tourism is a disease … there is not a single place on earth where tourism has not spoiled what was there before

  16. Doing DIY tours are a great idea. We love hiring a guide for ourselves, or a rickshaw driver, and have him take us around to wherever we want! Usually there aren’t any other tourists around, or at least not that many.

    We have said “no” to many sites just because they were way too expensive. If it’s something we’ve been dying to see or if it’s really important to us, or to the country we’re in, then we will splurge.

    Thanks for the comment 🙂

  17. Great read about something I’ve thought about so many times! I am Portuguese and travel with my Indian husband: in India, I have to pay so much more than he does for government managed landmarks.

    I used to think that tourists pay inflated prices. Now, in some cases, I tend to observe that maybe it’s locals that pay “below” price.. and not the other way around. I can pay $10 to visit the Taj Mahal, but if that was the price for everyone, the masses here in India would never be able to visit one of their country’s landmarks. In that sense, I am happy they have the opportunity. It’s their country’s heritage, and it should be made available to them for a reasonable fee.

    In general, I hate having to pay more and the fact that local/tourist differences are established even when it comes to pricing. I get it in some cases, in some places.. but not in every single case I encounter.

  18. Great post! This is something Dan and I talk about often, and I actually have a draft about a similar topic in my head that I just need to get down on paper 🙂 We experienced a lot of this in Vietnam, even with things such as food and drinks. Honestly, I prefer to think of it not that I’m being charged more, but that the locals are just being charged less. It is true that most of the time locals don’t make enough money to experience the same things that tourists do, so I don’t mind if they receive a discount if it makes activities, culture, history etc. more accessible to them. If I’m still paying what I consider to be a fair price, then it’s fine. What I really detest though is when I am charged more than the fair or regular price just because I am clearly a foreigner. You guys definitely raised a lot of great points!

  19. Great post guys!
    One of the reasons why me and Cez did not enjoy our stay in Vietnam was paying “tourist” prices which were at least 5 times higher than the local prices. We felt like everyone was trying to rip us off. We stopped trusting people with prices and didn’t have much fun there :-(.

  20. Great minds think alike 🙂

    I agree with you. Sometimes we feel like it’s great that the locals are paying less and therefore they are able to afford to see some of the great wonders in their countries. What we sometimes feel though is that we should pay more towards the price that the locals are paying vs. the sky high prices the foreigners sometimes pay.

    We both feel that prices should be affordable for local people, but that we shouldn’t pay way more than them. A little bit more, sure. But 18 cents for locals and $35 for foreigners like in Sri Lanka is a bit ridiculous!

    Thanks for contributing your thoughts on this topic. Can’t wait to read your article.

  21. Aw, that’s too bad that it ruined your trip. We know the feeling too. SE Asia can be bad for that. On one hand, we understand because many of the people there don’t have much money, but on the other hand, it’s a moral issue. Don’t rip people off and lie to their faces about the cost of something, u know?

    This whole tourist pricing thing is quite the issue!

    Thanks for the comment Agness.

  22. Completely agree Zara. Thanks for contributing to this topic.

    I’m happy to pay $10 to see a Wonder of the World like the Taj Mahal. You’re right, if the Indian people had to pay that amount, many wouldn’t be able to visit it, which would be a huge shame.

    It’s things like some of the sights in Sri Lanka and in Jordan where the price for foreigners is pretty outrageous that I don’t agree with.

    Like you said, in some instances we understand, but in other situations it’s upsetting.

  23. I do agree that tourist pricing reeks of discrimination and is unfair. Perhaps those implementing it would reason that locals are given an “automatic discount” through lower fees because they are supposed to have a sense of ownership. However, it doesn’t show when they themselves damage the site. It could also be some sort of “assumed” loyalty award. Notice how loyalty cards in shops give bearers discounts and freebies when they come back to the shop? It is assumed that locals keep coming back to the site, and therefore are given a discount.

  24. Interesting post guys.

    I used to think, until very recently, it was just wrong too, and I still don’t think it is right for restaurants (I seen and heard about it happening in places in Asia when the English menu comes with English prices too).

    When I was in Cuba there was often a price for tourists (paid in CUC, the hard currency) and a price for locals (paid in the lower national pesos). This was only for entrance fees for a few sights and museums, and the occasional live music venue. The prices for tourists were still very fair and reasonable.

    I asked a local about it, and he explained that the way the Cuban government sees it, is the prices for foreigners is the fair price for upkeep of the place, all the employees, etc etc (and it was – it wasn’t very high, we are talking $2-4 US) but as part of Cuba’s revolution ideals, they want all their citizens to be culturally aware and educated.

    Now for some Cubans, they can still visit historical monument and see traditional music shows paying the CUC price, but for the Cubans who are earning minimum wage, they simply couldn’t afford it. So to allow all Cubans the right to be able to participate in such things there are two prices, as the price for Cubans is subsided by the government.

    I liked this explanation.

    Even in Europe we have a price in some places for EU citizens or for residents of that particular town and city and it got me thinking about it. I just never considered this “tourist price” before, because when I hear “tourist price” I think of being ripped off in Asia.

    In Toldeo (a very beautiful but touristy town outside Madrid) most of the sights have free entry or reduced price for locals in Toledo. After this conversation in Cuba, I thought about some little old lady living in Toledo who has tourists trampling past her doorstep every day, but has always earned little money and is living off the pension. I guess, it’s only fair she should be able to see what people are coming to her city to see.

    I have seen tourist pricing in Asia and been appalled, because it is simply ridiculous. But when it is a fair gap, not exactly making the non-local price higher, but perhaps, giving the locals a discount, I don’t mind anymore. Besides, I have my own opportunity to use it, but I just always forget to check where is offering discounts for EU.

  25. Vietnam was the WORST for it. Oh my gosh, in Vietnam I felt like every corner I turned there was someone or something waiting to rip me off again! It also made me not enjoy Vietnam as much as I could have.

  26. Ya, that’s a good point that locals are expected to come back again and again…but do they? I agree that possibly locals should pay less, but that the gap between local price and foreign price shouldn’t be so insanely big.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion

  27. Thanks for sharing your opinion Cyra.
    I for sure agree that locals should have the opportunity to visit the sites that are offered in their own countries. In many cases, the local people couldn’t afford to visit if the price was the same as it is for foreigners. I don’t mind paying a little bit more, at all, I think that’s fair. When the the price has a massive gap like it typically does in Asia, that really gets to me. The price should be much cheaper for foreigners. It’s the feeling of being ripped off that leaves a bad taste in ones mouth.

    Thanks for commenting 🙂

  28. I would not mind paying a little more. Say 10% but when the price difference is so great it just feels like a rip off and changes my view of a country.

  29. The point is not if 25$ for visiting Taj Mahal is cheap or not. The point is that darkskinned people wherever they come from pay local price and white people pay tourist price. I have experienced this many times when I have ben in India. Another word for such behavior is racism.

  30. Very valid points. Lately, we don’t mind paying slightly more than the local people. For example, here on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, there is one local price for the boat, and a foreign price – the foreign price includes Guatemalans that live abroad, it’s strictly for the locals.

    In this case, I’m ok with it.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion. Cheers!

  31. what about the fact that for most 1st countries there are a tourist prices as well for the 3rd world country people.. Only the reach that can show economical ressources have access to the visa to travel.. I don’t think it is racism more prices are tailored to the adquisitive power of the visitor.. and very often with your high prices you subsidised the locals.. for example on lake atitlan as mentioned you pay more so the locals can pay less.. Same for me when I go to Paris if I buy a subway ticket it will be more expensive than the price the parisian living there are paying..

  32. In my opinion, this isn’t an issue you can paint with such a thick brush.

    One example that comes to mind where I think tourist pricing is absolutely justified and necessary is in the national parks of various African nations. Tourists are often charged upwards of 10x local prices. And even still, a very large proportion of locals have never been able to afford to visit the parks and see the animals that their own countries are famed for. It raises some uncomfortable questions when a young Australian like me, who has never received a full-time wage, has visited more African countries and seen more African wildlife than the huge majority of Africans. So obviously they shouldn’t charge locals more. Should they charge foreigners less? Well, the only thing protecting that land and those animals are the revenues they raise, so once again, I’d say the answer is no. Sure, we can argue that some Africans are far richer than myself, but clearly it isn’t practical to subject 10,000 visitors per year to means testing at the entrance (and if they did, we’d probably be complaining about that instead of the tourist prices).

    And would I want visitors to Australia to have to pay higher entrance fees than me? Well, Australia has low unemployment, a high minimum wage, and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world on a per capita basis. So no, I don’t think there’s any need for that either.

    I definitely agree that there are some instances in which tourist pricing is misused. But I think in circumstances where most of the locals are living in poverty, and most of the tourists are not, then it is usually justified. The bottom line is things like this need to be looked at on a case by case basis, because there are too many factors for a one size fits all policy.

  33. I really understand both arguments for tourist pricing, but what I find really annoying (and borderline rude) is when the judgement is made based on skin-colour, and especially when i live in that country. I am often overcharged in Pakistan because some people seem to think I am a tourist, simply because of my skin colour. Incredibly frustrating, when I call Pakistan home.

  34. I personally feel that tourist pricing is totally unfair. I realize some of the pros and cons, but it’s like Disneyland charging all Americans $10.00, and all foreigners $100. Of course, that’s never going to happen, and I don’t think it’s fair that it’s done elsewhere in the world. I agree with giving discounts to students, seniors, veterans, etc. but when pricing is done based on race or just the perceived fact that foreigners earn more, I think that is definitely discrimination and needs to stop. A fair price could be worked out to cover local staff wages, maintenance, etc. (after all, wages and maintenance are paid at local costs), and/or special extras or guided tours can be arranged for anybody who is interested at a higher price if need be. Governments often look at prize tourist sites such at the Taj Mahal and Petra as cash cows and collect high funds from visitors. If that money is put back into the tourist sector, that’s not such a bad thing, but sometimes it’s just used to cover less-productive areas of the budget, and I feel that’s not right either. Where I live in Phoenix, we have a high rental car tax that is used to pay for stadiums. Many business people and others (most from out of town) rent cars, but never go to the stadiums to see a game, so I feel that’s wrong too. I think it would be justified to use it for something that is related to tourism that everyone from out of town would generally use, such as road signs, tourism promotion, etc. Also, charging $.18 for locals compared to $35 for foreigners is crazy for an admission difference. If they are going to come up with a fair price (such as local hourly minimum wage to average hourly minimum wage around the world (like $10–at least that would make a little more sense). They are keeping people away by driving up the cost so high, and that’s why I do appreciate attractions who offer various discounts and/or free admission during certain hours or days of the week–that is fair to all. The people who can afford to come and pay regular pricing during regular hours do this, and those that cannot afford to will come during the discounted period.

  35. My girlfriend and I have travelled Southeast Asia for the past 1.5 years and we’ve encountered this discrimination a lot. We’ve considered all the arguments in favour of inflated prices for foreigners and against. What we’ve realized is that all these arguments miss the point entirely. The point is that there should be no people manning these sites, no tickets, ticket booths or entrance fees. Nobody owns these sites. The government do not own them. The government does not own the country that it governs either. No government has a right to take money from anybody in exchange for a permit to visit the country or a permit (ticket)to visit its sites. If many of these sites fall into disrepair because of this attitude then so be it. No person or government has the right to control access to a site or country that they do not and cannot in any way possess because it is not theirs to appropriate and monetize. Freedom to roam and experience the wonders of this Earth is the most important thing for humanity and we must prioritize that over everything else. Nobody has the right to benefit financially from this. If they try to, then we must put an end to their campaign. The people need to unite and stand up against all of these forces that subtly undermine our freedom and force us to agree to a system of funding the upkeep of important sites and attractions. If we choose not to contribute financially to the upkeep of sites, we will not be stopped. That is our choice. They will not demand or force us to pay money for breathing the air inside the perimeter of the site that they think is theirs to regulate. They will not impinge on our freedom to roam our own planet.

  36. Hi there,

    Thank you for the article. I know your views have changed since, but I would like to add another perspective to the issue, and that’s the fact that price discrimination exists already in modern economies: the idea that there are different price equilibria for each person (people’s abilities to pay are different) and therefore companies dissect that as much as they can through available data and give different prices to different people (based on gender, race, etc..) You can research this and see tons of examples, but from your travel I’m sure you are aware of that when it comes to flight tickets. One illustrative example from the US is of a test training company for students to enter college which uses the zip code to segment its populations and price accordingly, and basically they charge zip code areas with dense Asian populations more because they know Asians are willing to pay high prices for the education of their kids (true story)

    I am not saying the above is right, but what I’m saying is that it exists in formal “fancy” terms in developed countries and no one complains, but when you see it happen informally with cash before your eyes you feel personally offended. And I understand that.

    Another thing to note is that higher prices for tourists actually affect local people’s ability to pay for these things. I come from a very touristic country and local shops refuse to even bargain with us in high season because tourists jack up prices. So while this helps the economy as a whole local people are not always happy to see it happen because it reduces their bargaining power and increases prices for everyone.

  37. Tourist pricing is a double edged sword. The problem with the above philosophy is that it is completely one sided. You are obviously speaking from the tourists perspective and not the small tourist town’s small business owner’s perspective. I implore you to try and sustain a small business in a tourist town without offering a “locals discount”. What happens is that during those times of the year where you’re not seeing a lot of tourist traffic, also known as the “mud season” up here in the high country of Colorado, a lot of small businesses can’t survive without offering the locals an incentive to shop there. It’s also basic supply and demand economics, the higher your demand and the lower your supply, the higher the price. Small towns don’t have the advantage of warehouse storage for overhead expenses so your at the mercy of traffic patterns that are all over the place and it’s impossible to maintain without building the cost of maintaining into the price of your goods sold. In the case of a small business, it’s the tourists who tax the facility more than the locals, many of them just browsing and not making any purchases. If a local isn’t going to buy anything, they won’t even bother coming in. Subsidizing discounts also helps small businesses participate in community relations, which in-turn creates more local business which helps sustain the business during the “mud season”
    I’m sorry but this article is completely one sided while claiming to attack the issue from multiple angles.

  38. I’m happy to see that you were able to look beyond your Western privilege to understand the basis for the different pricing structure. But even if it was considered completely “unjustifiable,” which is obviously going to be in the eye of the beholder, I don’t entirely understand why it’s “racist.” “Nationalist” sure but certainly not racist. I am of South Asian descent and my parents emigrated from India in the 70s. However, I am a US Citizen by birth. In India, I pay the foreigner price unless I happen to be with family who buys the entrance. Though I have inadvertently paid the “locals” price in some countries because the person selling tickets just assumed I was from that country. There are many ways I am not privileged in the main categories that people examine (e.g. race, gender, wealth). However, I am privileged in that I hold a US Passport, which affords me the ability to travel pretty easily almost anywhere in the world. I can pay a premium for that privilege. This topic goes into the same bucket as a few other qualms I have about travel and privilege. (Seriously though, the word “expat” pisses me off – why is it that when brown people move to white countries, they are immigrants but when white people move to brown countries, they’re “expats.”)

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