“Tourism” sometimes gets a bad name. Places get “overrun” or “too touristy” (I’ve written both of those things, as have many others), which phrases imply that destinations were once awesome but have been spoiled by modern travelers. And of course that argument suggests that there was some halcyon period before travel was a thing.
But the truth is that travel — and I’m talking about recreational, non-work or migration travel — has existed for a very long time. Tourists have been swarming to sites for centuries. Case in point, these photos:
Crowds of people around the Eiffel Tower:
The Eiffel Tower has been a tourist destination from the get-go and this photo, from 1889, shows that it has always been pretty crowded. C’est la vie.
Tourists at the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 1870: