Is it bad to be a tourist? No, it’s not. But wait, is it also true about the place of visit? It turns out that sometimes hosting a large amount of guests might influence the cultural and ecological conditions of the places.
The British edition of Wanderlust Travel made a list of tourist sites, virtually destroyed by the tourists, so take a glance and you’ll realize how the human invasion may effect the sites.
1. Wadi Rum, Jordan
In recent decades tourism development of in Jordan was increasing rapidly, and almost everyone who came or comes into this charming country, feels compelled to see the spectacular lunar landscapes of Wadi Rum, swept across the desert in a jeep. The attraction of the desert is not limited to the bright color sand and the sun but also the opportunity of feeling yourself the main character of Sting’s song “Desert Rose”. Now the worldly-wise-wheel drive vehicles are improved to such a degree so that they sweep sand dunes making untouched place to become possible for visit.
The main problem here lies in the fact that the desert is shared between three Bedouin tribes and each of them is viewing it as a source for money-earning without caring about the construction of decent housing for travelers, or the purchase of new SUVs. As a result, unique landscapes are gradually losing their appeal, and the received money from tourists are not being wisely used by the urban merchants, as it is not doing any good to the desert, nor its inhabitants, it doesn’t give even slightest benefit to both sides. Although, due to its main characteristics Wadi Rum could’ve been easily turned into a center of ecological desert tourism.
2. Yangshuo, China
Until recently Yangshuo was a real paradise for those travelers who were getting tired of the hustle and bustle of large tourist groups and needed a quite and nice place to rest. Alas, the Chinese tourism is growing and this town is now being included into the list of bus stops for the tourists.
Currently, Yangshuo takes more than three million people a year to view the Chinese beauty, which now influences the nature here- once a crystal clear river is now practically turned into a sewage system, and the houses of local residents are now being turned into tiny motels, which kind of increases the unwanted interest to this place. Selling their homes to foreigners, wishing to do business here, the natives are fleeing the city in search of the lost beauty and solitude. Fortunately, in this there are still some areas that can be called a true quiet spots. This can be easily felt while renting a bike and leisurely strolling , enjoying the endless rice fields and picturesque mountain scenery.
3. Tulum, Mexico
Just 30 years ago, beaches of Cancun, surrounded by coral reefs vast, were nearly deserted as this was the spot where the residents were earning for a living – by catching fish. Currently, the line of the coast is overfilled with various huge hotels and amusement parks, and the natives, the descendants of the Maya, are slowly forgetting their mother tongue, which is no longer even taught in schools. It feels like the modernity and its processed got to the last stronghold of the Maya in this region – the city of Tulum. Thousands of tourists daily visit the pyramids and temples of the Indian civilization, filling the city with their noise and bustle.
Currently, the government plans to build an international airport and a large recreation center on the more pristine parts of the coast, which will at last transform the region into an ordinary, unremarkable “tourist paradise” with the fliers.
4. Stonehenge, United Kingdom
Until recently, the guides were carefully hiding that during the entire XX century, the ancient monument was subject to various restorations. Moreover, while placing and moving the stones, the builders were guided by no means of historical authenticity but rather how it will look at the photos. It feels like a rather interesting approach for the scene PR.
As a result, the original location of the stones is completely disrupted, and the majority of tourists come here only to have a walk from the car park to the nearest stone, to take photographs and go back. Anyways this is not impressive for such a great scientific place. Except this, there are also two major highways crossing the historical monument which slightly said “doesn’t add any beauty to the landscape”. Currently, activists are launching a new propaganda campaign to remove the highway tunnels and make the space more open. Hopefully it will help to save this land from the disaster.
5. Machu Picchu, Peru
Monument which was originally built for the great Inca Empire and became the survivor of many wars and earthquakes, seem to be unprepared for the invasion of the tourists. Two and a half thousand people who are annually visiting the city, contributed to the fact that last year the monument was listed among the endangered architectural sites.
The bridge which was built in 2007, in the area of Santa Teresa, has compounded the problem as it opened a road for tourists, and now getting to the ancient monuments can be done almost effortless.
6. Jaisalmer, India
2008 was a great year for this awesome place as it hosted over 300 thousand people , who came to have a look at yellow walls of the lost monument. In just 10 years the flow of tourists to Jaisalmer increased 3 times, and the worst thing is that the local infrastructures are absolutely unable to cope with the flows of people.
The main problem is the outdated sewage system: water seeps into the sand through the cracks in the old pipes which lead to the formation of cracks in the soil. The only way to solve the problem is the complete replacement of the outdated system, but the funding is not enough. The situation is compounded by the fact that every third family in Jaisalmer is living earning in the tourism, and therefore attempts to limit the number of visitors will instantly affect the general welfare of urban residents.
7. Timbuktu, Mali
Even though the festival of the Tuareg will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2010 in the desert near Timbuktu to, international organizations are strongly recommended to get rid of the idea of visiting Mali. It is believed that the region is hosting the Al-Qaeda and has a great threat of terrorism.
According to the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the terrorists are going to expand their sphere of influence at the expense of those regions, where the police are too weak and there are only few inhabitants. There are a lot of places like this around the Sahara. Previously the number of the visitors of Timbuktu was no less than ten thousand a year, but now their number decreased dramatically.
8. Lonely Planet, Tasmania
Once in 2008, when Lonely Planet got included in the list of the best beach facilities, the tourists who came here found that there is nowhere to sit. Almost the entire 30-kilometer coastline is filled with tents and camping sites, and it is simply not that easy to find a place to fit in.
Luckily, Lonely Planet mentioned only the southern part of the beach, so if you shift a little to the north, it is still a chance to find a quiet place, even though privacy is not guaranteed as you might be not the only victim of the public ad.