The dream and paradisiacal places to travel are being destroyed by the same mass tourism. In addition to the tourist overexploitation of Machu Pichu and Abu Simbel, the closure of a beach in Thailand has recently been added.
Some time ago, conservation associations in Costa Rica denounced the invasion of tourists on one of its peaceful beaches, which caused the interruption of the traditional spawning of hundreds of thousands of olive turtles. Tourists teased by taking selfies and sitting their children in the shells of turtles.
The baby dolphin that was taken from the sea for the enjoyment of the curious was also very viralized on social networks and ended up dying; or the bison that a father and son drove into their car in Yellowstone Park and had to be euthanized after the herd rejected it.
Easter Island, Machu Picchu or the Great Barrier Reef are some of the treasures in danger of extinction due to the massive influx of public. So since all awareness is little, and before entering fully into the summer period, we list some of the dream destinations that tourists have put, put or will jeopardize during their vacations.
The Great Wall of China
It is said to be visible from space, but we don't know if for much longer. Erosion, lack of maintenance and vandalism have already led to the disappearance of a tenth of the construction. Of the section of wall built during the Ming empire (1368-1644), only 8.2% is currently in good condition. In addition, due to the torrential rains, it is feared that the walls could collapse as they did in 2012, causing the fall of more than 30 meters of wall.
The shrine of Abu Simbel
The temple dedicated to Pharaoh Ramses II and his wife Nefertiti is the second most visited destination in Egypt after the pyramids of Giza (which also suffered a tourist going beyond the GoPro limits in hand) and it even has its own airport to satisfy the great demand of visitors. But a few months ago, the authorities had to modify the environment to be able to preserve the monument with guarantees. Inside the sanctuary they installed a new ventilation system to control the increase in humidity and temperature caused by tourists. Outside, they introduced one-way traffic to minimize traffic chaos.
80,000 tourists a year is a lot of people for almost any place. More so if the place that congregates them is an island barely 25 kilometers long (demand has grown 30% more since 2006.) The increase in Chilean emigrants willing to open restaurants and hotels has caused tensions with the indigenous population. The famous sculptures, known as moais, also suffer an accelerated degradation process due to erosion and the action of man. The lack of control is such that a Finn cut the ear of one of the statues to take it as a souvenir.
The great coral barrier
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1981, its 2,300 kilometers long are home to 400 species of coral and 1,800 fish (including the characters in Finding Nemo). In May 2015, UNESCO threatened to include it in its list of places in danger, due to tourist pollution, Australia's high carbon emissions and global warming. The corals are bleaching and without proper care it could disappear by 2050.
Machu Picchu ruins
Like the Great Barrier, the lost city of Machu Picchu has been on the verge of entering the fateful register of UNESCO threatened areas. Built in the 15th century for about 800 people, it receives more than 2,500 daily. To the felling of trees, the expansion of agriculture and pollution, we must add the tremor produced by the invasion of tourists, which destabilize the structures of the buildings.
The temples of Angkor Wat
Who was going to tell 12th century Cambodians that Angkor Wat was going to end up being selfie meat. The growth of tourism at breakneck speed, close to 20% each year, is putting this World Heritage Site at risk. More than two million people have immortalized on their Instagram what is considered one of the most spectacular sunrises on earth. The flood of tourists is challenging its unstable structure and graffiti has begun to appear on the walls of the temples. The authorities are trying to stop with a greater police deployment the deterioration of a symbol so fundamental for Cambodia that it even appears on its flag.
The Masai Mara
"It will not take long to disappear, unless we take urgent and drastic steps now," said a reserve scientist. The increase in the number of residents, visitors (ten thousand daily) and beds (multiplied in a couple of decades) is proportional to the decrease in lions, leopards and giraffes. Although limiting access was considered, the roughly € 16 million it brings to Kenya's ailing economy seems enough to keep going safaris.
The Altamira caves
Although some experts believe that they should be closed completely due to the proliferation of bacteria and fungi, in 2014 they were reopened to the public after twelve years. Of course, the access regime is very limited. Once a week, five people are chosen by lottery to visit the caves for 37 minutes, under a strict protocol of clothing and lighting. The Cantabrian government debates auctioning the tickets to the highest bidder, allocating that money to research projects. The common of the mortals will have to settle for visiting their reproduction.
The Kho Phi Phi islands
They rose to fame thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio and the movie The Beach (Danny Boyle) and since then they have gone from being a pristine treasure of crystal clear waters and white sand to an overexploited tourist destination that welcomes more than a million and a half visitors to the year. Two data that warn of the urgency of controlling tourism: of the 14 coral reefs on its beaches, only one is still in good condition, and of the thousand boats that offer to sail to vacationers, only a hundred have a license.
Mont Saint Michel
It is the latest UNESCO alert. Although it only has fifty registered inhabitants on the island, it is the largest tourist icon in Normandy, with about 3 million visitors a year. The organization has asked to control the access of visitors to what was a prison during the French Revolution and whose medieval streets have been turned into a parade of bars, restaurants and hotels. Not even Marbella in its best years had so many souvenir shops per square meter.