Hunza is going through a crisis. The region, adored and owned by locals, is viewed as another disposable exotic vacation spot for city dwellers. This point was highlighted when a music festival was recently held in the region.
Canadian travel vlogger Rosie Gabrielle has been on a mission to motorbike around the world and is currently in Hunza. Some locals reached out to her with their concerns, hoping she would use her platform to help them. She shared their words in an Instagram post titled Keep the North Pure.
The post has pictures of the pollution caused by festival goers, a collage of images from the event and screenshots of her conversation with aggrieved locals.
The common sentiment is that while they appreciate people coming to enjoy the beauty of their land, they don't appreciate them bringing the rubbish and pollution of the city with them.
They complained about how recent tourists have been spreading "vulgarity" and "drug culture". The locals feel that these problematic things are veiled behind the screen of arts and entertainment, and argued that there are better ways of doing so. They believe their values are being threatened.
Gabrielle also shared her own thoughts on the situation with a thoughtful caption. She said lack of international travelling opportunities have forced people up north but they're bringing with them "bad behaviours, drugs, vulgarity, rave parties and leaving a lot of trash".
She shared her own experience about travelling to Northern Pakistan as well, saying she was disturbed by local tourists and had to seek out more solitary spots.
The vlogger said she understood the need for people to travel and relax after a tough year, but rightfully pointed out their entitlement in destroying the places they visit.
A sentiment shared by the locals was echoed by Gabrielle, who maintained that locals love welcoming tourists, it's just their practices they disapprove of. They welcome musical events and workshops to exchange skills, but what's going on right now is viewed as a threat to their culture.
And they're right. People go from polluted cities and often leave a trail of pollution and trash behind when they visit the northern areas. Tourists should respect the feelings of the residents of the areas they're visiting and respect their culture. How would you like it if someone came to your home, littered, partied and then left you with the responsibility of cleaning up?