The European Hot Spots Struggling With the Tourist Masses
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,581,977 (+0.10%)       Melbourne $970,512 (+0.23%)       Brisbane $885,023 (+0.03%)       Adelaide $813,016 (+0.20%)       Perth $760,003 (-0.11%)       Hobart $733,438 (-1.28%)       Darwin $643,022 (-0.79%)       Canberra $970,902 (+1.87%)       National $1,000,350 (+0.23%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $721,725 (+0.37%)       Melbourne $488,237 (-0.76%)       Brisbane $495,283 (+1.37%)       Adelaide $404,022 (-2.77%)       Perth $405,420 (-0.69%)       Hobart $498,278 (-1.60%)       Darwin $339,700 (-0.58%)       Canberra $480,910 (-0.04%)       National $502,695 (-0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,626 (-230)       Melbourne 15,220 (+56)       Brisbane 8,417 (-24)       Adelaide 2,720 (-9)       Perth 6,897 (+56)       Hobart 1,234 (+5)       Darwin 281 (+5)       Canberra 1,079 (-30)       National 46,474 (-171)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,563 (-253)       Melbourne 8,007 (-12)       Brisbane 1,824 (-34)       Adelaide 493 (-16)       Perth 1,902 (-1)       Hobart 176 (+4)       Darwin 388 (-7)       Canberra 858 (+2)       National 22,211 (-317)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $775 (-$5)       Melbourne $570 ($0)       Brisbane $600 ($0)       Adelaide $580 (+$10)       Perth $625 (-$5)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $690 (-$10)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $642 (-$2)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 ($0)       Melbourne $550 ($0)       Brisbane $625 ($0)       Adelaide $460 (+$10)       Perth $580 (+$5)       Hobart $460 (+$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $576 (+$2)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,654 (+231)       Melbourne 5,764 (+128)       Brisbane 4,271 (-9)       Adelaide 1,259 (+101)       Perth 1,944 (+50)       Hobart 337 (-36)       Darwin 168 (+19)       Canberra 647 (+18)       National 20,044 (+502)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,121 (+505)       Melbourne 6,022 (+34)       Brisbane 2,066 (+18)       Adelaide 366 (+1)       Perth 600 (-5)       Hobart 138 (-17)       Darwin 306 (+12)       Canberra 736 (+20)       National 19,355 (+568)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.55% (↓)       Melbourne 3.05% (↓)       Brisbane 3.53% (↓)     Adelaide 3.71% (↑)        Perth 4.28% (↓)     Hobart 3.90% (↑)        Darwin 5.58% (↓)       Canberra 3.64% (↓)       National 3.34% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.26% (↓)     Melbourne 5.86% (↑)        Brisbane 6.56% (↓)     Adelaide 5.92% (↑)      Perth 7.44% (↑)      Hobart 4.80% (↑)      Darwin 8.42% (↑)        Canberra 6.06% (↓)     National 5.96% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)      National 0.9% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 28.0 (↑)      Melbourne 29.2 (↑)        Brisbane 30.6 (↓)       Adelaide 23.8 (↓)     Perth 34.2 (↑)      Hobart 29.4 (↑)      Darwin 39.9 (↑)      Canberra 28.2 (↑)      National 30.4 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 29.4 (↑)      Melbourne 29.6 (↑)        Brisbane 30.3 (↓)       Adelaide 22.5 (↓)       Perth 39.2 (↓)     Hobart 26.1 (↑)        Darwin 36.1 (↓)     Canberra 34.4 (↑)        National 31.0 (↓)           
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The European Hot Spots Struggling With the Tourist Masses

Italy, Spain and Greece are on track for a record-setting tourism season, and not everyone is happy about it; ‘It’s too much’

Mon, Jul 3, 2023 8:46amGrey Clock 4 min

MONTEROSSO AL MARE, Italy—A worker shouts in Italian, English and French, directing throngs of tourists through the small train station. Wild gesticulations, a fluorescent yellow vest and a booming voice help her to stand out on the packed platform.

Swarms of people holding backpacks and water bottles squeeze past each other, some heading for a departing train, others for the exit and a stunning view of the sea and cliffs that have made the villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre a global tourist draw.

Outside the station, lines form at food shops. Signs say all the umbrellas and reclining chairs are occupied at the pay-only beach on Monterosso’s waterfront. Narrow alleyways are crammed with tourists eating gelato or sipping bubble tea.

“Tourism is necessary, it’s almost all we have here, but it’s too much,” said Angela Costa, a longtime Cinque Terre resident.

Italy’s tourist season started with a record number of visitors over Easter. In the Cinque Terre, the congestion was so bad that local officials made the area’s famous hiking trails one-way on the busiest days. The situation repeated itself over several weekends in May and June.

“Easter was crazy, and now it’s ramping up again,” said David Cefaliello, who works in a cafe in Corniglia, another of the five Cinque Terre villages. “We aren’t at pre-Covid levels yet, but I suspect that will change in a few weeks.”

Millions of Europeans and Americans are engaging in so-called revenge tourism, making up for lost travel time during the pandemic-affected years of 2020-22. Millions of Chinese tourists are expected to visit Europe this summer and fall after the elimination of China’s travel restrictions.

Italy is likely to surpass the record number of tourists and overnight stays set in 2019, before Covid struck, according to market research firm Demoskopika. Arrivals in the period from June to September are expected to be 3.7% higher than the same period in 2019 and 30% more than a decade ago. Italy’s Tourism Ministry has also said it expects a record year, as have Spanish and Greek officials.

All those visitors are giving a welcome boost to Southern Europe’s economies, which depend heavily on tourism. In Italy, more than 10% of the economy is linked to travel and tourism, compared with 15% in Spain and 19% in Greece, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. In France and the U.S., the level is around 9%.

But locals are increasingly asking how much the Cinque Terre, Barcelona and Athens can take. Discontent is also rising in some places, spurring local efforts to rein in the tourist hordes.

In Portofino, a small upscale village on the Italian Riviera popular with the international jet set, police are fining people who block foot traffic to take selfies.

In 2024, Venice plans to introduce an entry fee to the city on the busiest days of the year, according to the mayor’s office.

In Barcelona, locals hang signs saying “tourists are terrorists,” while in Athens, residents complain about how the spread of Airbnb rentals for tourists is driving up rents and displacing Greeks from the city centre.

In May, about 10,000 short-term rental properties were available in Athens, almost a quarter more than in May 2018, according to market-research firm AirDNA. Demand for short-term rentals in Greece increased 62% in May compared with the same month last year, the firm said.

The Italian Alpine region of Alto Adige has capped the number of beds available for tourists in private properties to fight the proliferation of short-term rentals.

The crowds are spreading far beyond the Mediterranean. On the coast of Normandy in northern France, authorities have turned people away from Mont Saint-Michel, the tidal island topped with an abbey. The Louvre museum in Paris has put a daily limit on the number of visitors.

The French government is planning an advertising campaign to encourage people to travel at different times of the year and to consider less-famous destinations.

The flow of tourists to France has held strong even as the country has been racked with protests, including months of demonstrations over President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to raise the age of retirement. Now the country is grappling with nightly riots following the shooting of a teenager by police.

Luxury hotels in Europe are enjoying the boom, but many are looking for new ways to keep their high-paying clients happy despite the masses of tourists.

“We are always looking for something we can offer that will avoid the crowds, like hiking trails that are less well known, a private boat trip to Capri or a wine-tasting tour,” said Pietro Monti, head of marketing at the five-star Hotel Mediterraneo near the Amalfi coast, where rooms cost an average of about $1,200 a night. “But when it’s the high season, especially a record year like this, some crowding is inevitable.”

Crowds are hard to avoid in Vernazza, the Cinque Terre village that sits just south of Monterosso. On the rocks surrounding the small port, sunbathers battle for space with children kicking a soccer ball and people jumping into the sea. The crush on the rocks grows when boats arrive from one of the nearby towns.

Juli Eger, who was sipping wine and eating focaccia on a recent morning in Monterosso, while ignoring the crowds around her, finds her own workarounds.

“We were just in Venice and if you walk around very early in the morning, you only have to share the city with people taking engagement photos,” said Eger, who is traveling with her mother, husband and teenage son. “If you make Venice your first stop you’ll be jet-lagged, so getting up at 5.30 in the morning won’t even be a problem.”

Allison Pohle and Stacy Meichtry contributed to this article.


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Couples find that lab-grown diamonds make it cheaper to get engaged or upgrade to a bigger ring. But there are rocky moments.

Mon, Dec 11, 2023 4 min

Wedding planner Sterling Boulet has some advice for brides-to-be regarding lab-grown diamonds, which cost a fraction of the natural ones.

“If you’re trying to get your man to propose, they’ll propose faster if you offer this as an option,” says Boulet, of Raleigh, N.C. Recently, she adds, a friend’s fiancé “thanked me the next three times I saw him” for telling him about the cheaper lab-made option.

Man-made diamonds are catching on, despite some lingering stigma. This year was the first time that sales of lab-made and natural mined loose diamonds, primarily used as center stones in engagement rings, were split evenly, according to data from Tenoris, a jewellery and diamond trend-analytics company.

The rise of lab-made stones, however, is bringing up quirks alongside the perks. Now that blingier engagement rings—above two or three carats—are more affordable, more people are dealing with the peculiarities of wearing rather large rocks.

An engagement ring made with a lab-grown diamond at Ada Diamonds in New York City. PHOTO: CAM POLLACK/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Esther Hare, a 5-foot-11-inch former triathlete, sought out a 4.5-carat lab-made oval-shaped diamond to fit her larger hands as a part of her vow renewal in Hawaii last year. It was a far cry from the half-carat ring her husband proposed with more than 25 years ago and the 1.5-carat upgrade they purchased 10 years ago. Hare, 50, who lives in San Jose, Calif., and works in high tech, chose a $40,000 lab-made diamond because “it’s nuts” to have to spend $100,000 on a natural stone. “It had to be big—that was my vision,” she says.

But the size of the ring has made it less practical at times. She doesn’t wear it for athletic training and swaps in her wedding band instead. And she is careful to leave it at home when traveling. “A lot of times I won’t take it on vacation because it’s just a monster,” she says.

The average retail price for a one-carat lab-made loose diamond decreased to $1,426 this year from $3,039 in 2020, according to the Tenoris data. Similar-sized loose natural diamonds cost $5,426 this year, compared with $4,943 in 2020.

Lab-made diamonds have essentially the same chemical makeup as natural ones, and look the same, unless viewed through sophisticated equipment that gauges the characteristics of emitted light.

At Ritani, an online jewellery retailer, lab-made diamond sales make up about 70% of the diamonds sold, up from roughly 30% two years ago, says Juliet Gomes, head of customer service at the company, based in White Plains, N.Y.

Ritani sometimes records videos of the lab-diamonds pinging when exposed to a “diamond tester,” a tool that judges authenticity, to show customers that the man-made rocks behave the same as natural ones. We definitely have some deep conversations with them,” Gomes says.

Not all gem dealers are rolling with these stones.

Philadelphia jeweller Steven Singer only stocks the natural stuff in his store and is planning a February campaign to give about 1,000 one-carat lab-made diamonds away free to prove they are “worthless.” Anyone can sign up online and get one in the mail; even shipping is free. “I’m not selling Frankensteins that were built in a lab,” Singer says.

Some brides are turned off by the larger bling now allowed by the lower prices.When her now-husband proposed with a two-carat lab-grown engagement ring, Tiffany Buchert, 40, was excited about the prospect of marriage—but not about the size of the diamond, which she says struck her as “costume jewellery-ish.”

“I said yes in the moment, of course, I didn’t want it to be weird,” says the physician assistant from West Chester, Pa.

But within weeks, she says, she fessed up, telling her fiancé: “I think I hate this ring.”

The couple returned it and then bought a one-carat natural diamond for more than double the price.

Couples find that lab-grown diamonds have made it more affordable to get engaged. PHOTO: CAM POLLACK/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

When Boulet, the wedding planner in Raleigh, got engaged herself, she was over the moon when her fiancé proposed with a 2.3 carat lab-made diamond ring. “It’s very shiny, we were almost worried it was too shiny and was going to look fake,” she says.

It doesn’t, which presents another issue—looking like someone who really shelled out for jewellery. Boulet will occasionally volunteer that her diamond ring came from a lab.

“I don’t want people to think I’m putting on airs, or trying to be flashier than I am,” she says.

For Daniel Teoh, a 36-year-old software engineer outside of Detroit, buying a cheaper lab-made diamond for his fiancée meant extra room in his $30,000 ring budget.

Instead of a bigger ring, he got her something they could both enjoy. During a walk while on an annual ski trip to South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Teoh popped the question and handed his now-wife a handmade wooden box that included a 2.5-carat lab-made diamond ring—and a car key.

She put on the ring, celebrated with both of their sisters and a friend, who was the unofficial photographer of the happy event, and then they drove back to the house. There, she saw a 1965 Mustang GT coupe in Wimbledon white with red stripes and a bow on top.

Looking back, Teoh says, it was still the diamond that made the big first impression.

“It wasn’t until like 15 minutes later she was like ‘so, what’s with this key?’” he adds.


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