Being a low to middle income earner in a picturesque place can end up costing you

Arran

There is a housing crisis on the Island of Arran, Scotland, which is resulting in some islanders having to live in caravans due to homes being bought by the well-off as holiday lets or second homes.

It is a phenomenon that I cannot quite grasp. Places that were once considered niche tourist resorts or not urbanised enough are Capitalism’s gold dust. You may as well stick a pin on the most rural part of whichever county you live in and declare, ‘there is gold in dem hills’.

It has happened in Malaysia where I was born and grew up. Malaysian seaside towns are now the haven of expensive resorts which attract tourists from all over the world. These were just down market beaches at which school kids hung out at once.

It is quite a novel experience to have Western tourists regale me with their stories of how much they love Malaysia after having spent only a week on a white sandy beach in the middle of nowhere. In fact, Western tourists, in general, know far more about the country’s recreational facilities than I do. I am holidaying vicariously through them in a country that I was born in.

When once holidays brought economic benefits to countries and regions it is now the bane of the locals. Can’t be much fun being stopped by someone looking for the best restaurant in town when you can only afford the best caravan in town to live in.

While I do not mean to impute that jealousy is a facet of this type of tourism the inequality must be galling when you are having to save every penny and foregoing holidays just because your town has become the latest hot spot. I can imagine that people will look to move out of these communities which once saw generations of families grow up together.

The concept of ‘hollowed out communities’ is only going to aggravate the levels of inequality that exist.

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