Travelling has become easier than ever thanks to the internet, more affordable journeys and shorter travel times and there’s no doubt that we’ve taken full advantage of this.
There are many benefits to travelling; it not only enriches the mind and opens your eyes to other cultures but it’s also known to relieve stress and boost mental health. However, what comes as a blessing to us, comes as a detriment to some of the world’s most amazing spectacles.
With the significant increase in tourism, some of the world’s most fabulous cities and places are at risk of ruin as they attempt to deal with the excessive demand.
Here are just a few countries that are at risk of damage from over-tourism.
As a result of its insane beauty, beautiful beaches, luscious rice fields, incredible temples, its somewhat cheap way of living and not to mention its Instagram-ability the amount of people visiting Bali over recent years has soared.
This surge of explorers has had severe consequences and in December 2018 the island declared it was in the midst of a “garbage emergency”. Plastic waste is scattering the island’s beaches and local and environmental groups are now taking action to try and clear up the mess.
Italy is one of the most visited countries in Europe, which is no surprise as it’s home to some of the world’s greatest works of art, architecture, cuisine and landmarks.
But, the constant rise in tourists has put some of the cities at risk. Venice is experiencing mass tourism receiving more than 36 million international tourists in 2017, which was nearly a 10% rise on the previous year.
This overcrowding is causing an increase in pollution and a phenomenon of high water due to the surge of high tides caused by motorboats.
Locals are becoming extremely frustrated and UNESCO has voiced its concerns about the damage being caused to this sinking city. Subsequently, Venice has become the frontline in the battle against over-tourism.
Rome is also seeing the negative effects of tourism. The Spanish Steps that were made famous in 1953, after the release of the Audrey Hepburn film “Roman Holiday”, are now dirty with red wine stains and covered in chewing gum. In a bid to try and restore the steps, the city spent £1.68 million cleaning them in 2016 and has now made it illegal to sit on them altogether.
This Southeast Asian country is also struggling due to an influx of tourists over the last five years. People are flocking to the country to get a glimpse of its tropical beaches, magnificent palaces and ancient ruins.
The number of annual visitors has gone from 25 million in 2014 to an expected 40 million in 2019, which has put a huge strain on the country’s ecosystems and air quality.
On the 1st June 2018, Maya Bay, the stunning beach that appeared in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach, was forced to close in a bid to try and revive the areas decimated corals and aquatic life that has been destroyed by the non-stop coming and going of speedboats.
This Nordic island country is defined by its dramatic landscape and it screams purity with an abundance of sparkling glaciers, natural hot springs, lava fields and a capital that is powered by geothermal energy.
However, this has made it a popular travel destination for tourists and Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon’s appearance in one of Justin Bieber’s music videos in 2015 caused an inpour of visitors over the following years. This has caused a significant amount of damage to the site and environmentalists have now implemented a visitor ban in an attempt to save the spectacular canyon.
The country’s capital, Reykjavik, is also feeling the strain with cheap flights resulting in an overwhelming number of tourists visiting the city. It can’t be denied that the tourism has given the Icelandic economy a much-needed boost but it’s come at a price. Consequently, the local infrastructure has suffered and local prices have rocketed.
While travellers fuel many of these countries’ economies they’re also the primary contributors to some of their biggest problems and attention is now being drawn to the consequences that mass tourism can bring.