Famous travel destinations affected by the irresponsible tourism
According to the Mother Nature Network, a website specialized in ecology and where you can read the latest news about how the environment is affected by the new technological discoveries, some famous travel destinations from around the world are currently being ruined by the increasing tourism.
People like to explore new grounds and discover new cultures whenever it is possible and the freedom of movement or traveling wherever your heart desires it is a right that matches no other but we should also be aware of the fact that this exploration might damage the landscape. In simpler words, tourism might good for the people but it is not always good for the environment and landscape.
Machu Picchu is also known as the “lost city of the Incas” and is located high upon the Andes Mountains of Peru, where it stayed hidden until 1911 when it was discovered by the explorer and historian Hiram Bingham, guided in this regions by the locals Quechuas. Every year, Machu Picchu attracts thousands of visitors and because they threaten the fortitude of the ancient ruins, UNESCO had to include this historical site on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
The Great Barrier Reef is probably Australia’s most spectacular attraction and the world’s largest reef system which can even be seen from space. The reef is the home of billions of living organisms and every year attracts hundreds of visitors, some more careless than others. The main problem of the Great Barrier Reef is that fact that within a generation it could disappear because of the recent oil spills or the intense pollution with the grave effect of bleaching vast tracts of reef.
The Galapagos Islands were included by UNESCO in 2007 on the list of the World Heritage Sites in Danger. This is due to the irresponsible managing of the tourism and the pressure it makes on the island’s extremely sensitive habitat. The Galapagos Islands were made famous by Charles Darwin where, inspired by the island’s unique biodiversity, he conceived the theory of natural selection.
The most visited archaeological site in Mexico, where the ruins have been trampled on for millennia, and a location where you can understand the magnificence of the ancient civilizations is Teotihuacan. The economical interests of the capitalistic giants don’t really care about history and as a result in 2004, Wal-Mart Stores opened a branch within the archeological zone of the park and since then the site has been under a constant threat from development.
Believe it or not, in the last years, the southern continent of Antarctica, being largely uninhabited and having a fragile ecology, has been visited regularly by cruise ships, making it a top item on the adventure traveler’s wish list. The few native animal species respond not so well to the outside pressure and the increased tourism might damage irreversibly the actual ecosystem.
One of the largest game reserves in Africa is the Massai Mara, located in the northern part of the Serengeti National Park, in Kenya, as a continuation to it. Unfortunately, according to the Kenya Tourism Federation, the number of buildings being built in the reserve will outnumber animal populations in 20 years and because of this irresponsible development, the park loses it few animal species at an unprecedented rate and the big cats are constantly feeling the outside pressure of unwelcomed guests or the tourists who enjoy their safari experience.
Everybody knows that Cambodia’s largest tourist attraction is the Angkor Wat historical complex with its classical Khmer architectural style, represented even on Cambodia’s flag. The money income from tourism might help in paying the restoration work but you can not avoid seeing the obvious effects of uncivilized behavior such as the graffiti on the walls or the annual flood of visitors that threaten the integrity of the ancient structures.
Stonehenge is one of the most visited archeological sites and ancient structures in Europe and is famous all around the world because of its mystical design; it seems that this is not a reason enough to prevent it from being threaten by several major roadways placed dangerously close, not to mention the constant restoration attempts and the disrespect shown by some tourists.
Mount Everest, a location of great cultural and spiritual value located at the border between Nepal and Tibet, is today littered with trash from invading visitors, from tins, aluminum cans, glass, clothes, to climbing equipment, food, plastics, papers or tents. What was known as a restricted place, scaled only by the most daring explorers, is now one of Asia’s most important tourist sites.
The Taj Mahal is considered one of the greatest architectural wonders made by the humankind and was build by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, being today India’s most important landmark. In this particular case, tourism allowed the possibility of local development, with negative consequences such as pollution on the nearby Yamuna River. This is a constant threat for the Taj Mahal because in the last years its pure white color turned yellow, not mentioning the fact that this is just one of the damaging effects.
The Phi Phi Islands is one important destination of Thailand and were made famous all over the world after being featured in the British-American movie, “The Beach”, in 2000. The constant development and large number of travelers are a threat for the islands pristine beaches and clear water and even to this day the filmmakers are being blamed for damaging the local environment.
One of Africa’s geological and biological treasures is Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, an unflooded volcanic caldera that has provided a natural enclosure for a wide variety of wildlife, being the ideal location for conservation efforts but also becoming a prison for the local wildlife because, every year, large number of tourists come here to enjoy the spectacular landscapes and the crater’s beauty and mystique.
Cozumel, located in Mexico, was once a peaceful place until docks were built for cruise ships and so threatening the fragile reefs. The development and pollution are the two major problems and the local ecosystems are constantly being damaged by them.
The Great Wall of China is a gigantic structure and can even be seen from space but many sections have fallen into disrepair, being vandalized with graffiti and in some parts, even destroyed to make way for development. This is all due to the double-edge sword known as tourism: it can help the country’s economy but it can also do some irreversible damages to it.
Bali is located at a point where Asian mainland ecology transitions to the ecology of the Pacific Islands and its fragile island ecosystem is under constant threat because of the non-native animals and plants and the increased deforestation, as the area makes way for the tourism industry and Indonesia’s growing population.11