The Jakarta Post
The picturesque Maya Beach is famous for its secluded cove featuring glittering, translucent water, white sand and limestone cliffs. (Shutterstock/File)
Traveling around the world makes people happy and creates jobs. But tourism also can also have a negative impact on the destination’s environment and its people’s quality of life.
Here’s a list of seven places that have been ruined by tourism, according to Reader's Digest, which can make you think twice about where to go on your next vacation.
1. Maya Beach, Thailand
The picturesque beach is famous for its secluded cove featuring glittering, translucent water, white sand and limestone cliffs. However, following the release and subsequent hit of The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the area turned into a major tourist trap.
With hordes of tourists coming to see the hidden bay, it became impossible to enjoy the once-pristine views it offered. Visitors could hardly walk across the beach without bumping into another person, much less lie down to sunbathe.
Thailand decided to make Maya Beach off-limits to tourists in 2018. The closure was supposed to be temporary but is now indefinite.
2. Machu Picchu, Peru
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“Machu Picchu is a great attraction, but we are worried about its sustainability,” Sandra Doig, incoming tourism deputy director of the Commission for the Promotion of Exports and Tourism of Peru (PROMPERU), told The Washington Post.
The Incan citadel is set high in the Andes Mountains and has been named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. However, it is being overrun by visitors, with some 610,000 people visiting the region in July 2018.
Tourism authorities are introducing strict time slots, visitor limits and advance ticket purchases in order to contain the masses.
3. Venice, Italy
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Venice is renowned for delicious food and wine, its rich culture and ornate architecture. Built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, it is mainly well-known for its canals and traditional boats.
But over-tourism has had a bad impact on the city´s vitality. When infamous sights like St. Marks Square attracted more and more visiting cruise ships, group bus tours and streets lined with litter were the consequence.
Read also: Tourist destinations that need some loving
Due to the crush of people and rising sea levels, the scenic city is sinking rapidly. Also, stonework and carvings on historic buildings are crumbling.
Therefore, the Venetians decided to charge visitors up to 10 euros (US$11.28) to enter the city. This measure only affects short-stay tourists and will be implemented in the summer of 2019.
Global climate change and mass infiltration of tourists via cruise ships are affecting the entire content of Antarctica.
Due to the permanent boat traffic, coming from Chile and Argentina down to the Antarctic Peninsula, water pollution began threatening the lives of the area’s unique species.
In order to stop the environmental devastation, the Antarctic Treaty forbids ships carrying more than 500 passengers. Also, the number of visitors on shore has been limited to 100 at a time.
5. Pig Beach, The Bahamas
The wild pigs living in Big Major Cay are attracting throngs of tourists every year. Swimming with the animals on Exuma Island was a popular attraction until 2017, when pigs began dying on the beach.
According to National Geographic, various factors led to the animals’ death, but the government took no chances and decided to ban visitors from feeding them.
6. Mallorca, Spain
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According to the European Union Regional Development Fund, 10 million travelers visited Mallorca in 2017. In comparison, only 6 million tourists were recorded in 2010.
Mediterranean island is famous for its stunning beach resorts, sheltered coves, limestone mountains and Roman and Moorish ruins. But most of all, it’s known for a vibrant and thrilling nightlife.
The mass infiltration of tourists has led to an extreme environmental crisis and commercialization of Mallorca’s landscape, environment and heritage. The government reacted by doubling the tourism tax to 4 euros per person per day, which is added to hotel stays. This money will be used to support a sustainable model so that tourism benefits local communities.
7. Mount Everest
Despite experiencing a devastating earthquake in 2015, Mount Everest attracted 36,694 visitors in 2016.
Sherpa guides have suffered the consequences because they are responsible for gathering up the litter left behind by tourists. Because of the risks they take every day doing their job, the guides have threatened to go on strike for higher pay. (sop/kes)