Saturday, 2 Dec 2023

We BANNED tourists from our idyllic town…rude TikTokers clog streets and POO in our gardens as they jostle for pics | The Sun

A PICTURESQUE town has banned tourists from visiting after residents became fed up with TikTokers clogging their streets for scenic pictures.

Local citizens of Pomfret, Vermont, US, have come together in a bid to keep the "annoying" influx of influencers out of their stunning home.

They announced their banning plans earlier this month – ahead of the start of Autumn when tourists tend to begin flooding the streets.

The tourist hotspot has long been an Instagrammable destination for social media fans and photo-loving influencers thanks to its incredible scenery – but now things have taken a turn for the worse.

Locals have said the new wave of tourists is rude, disrespectful, and selfish, as they go to great lengths to capture their perfect photo – regardless of how it affects those around them.

Cathy Emmons, a local farmer, told the outlet that she and her husband Bill were left horrified after witnessing an influencer wander into private property and set up a portable changing booth, which she had used to change outfits for her selfies.

She claimed to have also spotted tourists casually strolling into her farm and stealing her tomatoes.

Another local recalled how he had a drone fly over his head last autumn as he sat outside having dinner with his family.

In a different incident, a tourist parked illegally in a resident’s driveway and used her garden shed as a toilet.

During Autumn, the trees dotted around the town turn a fiery orange – making the town the perfect backdrop for a cosy "fall" photo shoot.

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But while locals are used to the stampede of tourists around this time of year, they say the types of visitors have changed drastically since 2018.

In place of the usual nature photographers and wholesome couples, are social media users who are hungry for the most aesthetic post.

Mike Doten, whose family has lived in the area since the 1700s, told the Boston Globe that this new breed of visitors – whom he and his wife dub “TikTockers” – are the reason behind the decision to ban tourists.

The most popular spot among influencers is Cloudland Road – a winding stretch of dirt and gravel, accompanied by vast green fields with rustic barns.

It had once been a staple destination for nature lovers and photographers but has now been taken over by fame-hungry social media stars.

Citizens have been forced to make desperate complaints about the rise in the number of tour buses rolling into the town and clogging the narrow roads.

They fear that due to the new wave of traffic, emergency vehicles may start having trouble navigating through Pomfret.

The local council announced that authorities would be closing several roads to motor vehicle traffic from September 23 to October 15, including Cloudland Road in Pomfret and the entirety of Cloudland Road in Woodstock, which are the areas most heavily bombarded by tourists.

The town has even dished out temporary parking bans, as well as erect signage and barriers.

“Foliage season traffic in this area has steadily increased during the last several years, causing significant safety, environmental, aesthetic, and quality of life issues,” read the local council's memo.

“The steps summarised in this memo are part of a comprehensive effort, in co-ordination with area residents, to address these issues on the ground, through dialogue with local government partners, and on social and other information media.”

The new traffic measures will cut off outsider access to the popular Sleepy Hollow Farm – a private residence that influencers flock to, to capture their Autumn selfies.

Following the complaints by disgruntled locals, a GoFundMe page titled “Save Cloudland Road,” has been set up in an effort to raise money for road closures and traffic enforcement.

“Over the past several years, Cloudland Road (and the small roads leading to Cloudland Road) have experienced an unprecedented surge in Instagram and TikTok-fuelled tourist ‘influencers,’ who earn money from sponsors and have monetised and turned a private home on Cloudland Road into a social media photo destination,” the GoFundMe description reads.

“During Fall foliage season, crowds commonly surge to hundreds of people at one time, and tour bus companies have even joined the fracas".

It went on to explain how Cloudland and the surrounding roads become impassable and even claimed that "poorly behaved" tourists had left roads damaged in the past.

“Tourists have damaged roads, had accidents, required towing out of ditches, trampled gardens, defecated on private property, parked in fields and driveways, and verbally assaulted residents," it continued.

“Most of these folks arrive for a selfie in front of one private residence, and what was once a ‘word of mouth’ occasional drive-by has become a selfie destination.

“Our plea is simple: As a community, the residents surrounding Cloudland Road have come together to work with the towns of Pomfret and Woodstock to bring peace, safety, and civility back to the families who live here.”



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