More and more people are now touring places far from their countries than they did in the past, and currently, tourism is among the world’s fastest-growing industries. In 2015, there were more than 1.1 billion people who traveled internationally. According to the World Tourism Organization, there were 1.4 billion people who traveled internationally in 2018. The figures represent a 6% increase from the 2017 data. At the time, tourism was valued at $1.7 trillion, which was approximately 2% of the world’s GDP. Although tourism has numerous benefits, such as the creation of jobs and generating the country’s revenues, there are negative impacts that have affected different attraction sites. If proper measures are not taken, the preservation of some of the world-famous sites is in danger. Some cities in different parts around the world have introduced capping on the number of people who can visit those cities during the day. In certain areas, residents have held a protest against tourism. Some of the leading causes of destruction of the travel destinations include overpopulation and pollution.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is a UNESCO world heritage site in Peru. It is a citadel located in the Andes Mountains that was built in the 15th century. The site attracts millions of tourists every year. It is believed that Machu Picchu was part of the estate of the Inca emperor that represents the Inca empire civilization. It was abandoned following the Spanish conquest, and during the colonial period, it was not known to the Spanish and remained unknown to the rest of the world. It was not until 1911 when it became known to the rest of the world. In 2017, the government of Peru issued new measures to limit the number of visitors to the site to only 2,500 people in a day. National Geographic in 2002 had reported overcrowding in Machu Picchu that could easily lead to landslides. It had also been warned that too many people could damage the Inca trail and could lead to increased littering.
Roman Colosseum, Italy
Colosseum is also referred to as Flavian amphitheater, located in the city of Rome in Italy. The oval-shaped amphitheater was the largest ever built at the time and had the capacity of 50,000 spectators. The construction of the Colosseum was completed in 80AD. Much of the structure has been ruined by thieves, earthquakes, and stone robbers. It is one of the Ancient 7 Wonders of the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions sites in the world. In 2018, about 7.4 million tourists visited the Colosseum. For almost 2000 years, the Colosseum has witnessed enormous wear and tear. On different occasions, tourists have been caught stealing or moving stones and drawing graffiti on the pillars of the structure. Many errant tourists have been stopped from vandalizing the structure. Others have been stopped taking home a piece from the ruins of the amphitheater. Recently, a 47-year-old Indian was caught attempting to steal a piece of brick. Similarly, a teenager from Britain was arrested trying to carve initials of her name on a wall. The ISI terror group has more than once issued threats to bomb the Colosseum.
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China once covered a distance of more than 5,000 miles. However, over the years, the wall has reduced by almost two-thirds, which has largely been destroyed. The destruction of the wall is a result of millions of tourists who vandalize the wall each year. On the other hand, environmental factors such as erosion have also contributed to the deterioration of the wall. Lack of government funding to maintain the wall means that these factors will continue to worsen the situation. Only a small portion of the wall in the north of Beijing near tourist centers have been preserved and renovated. Many other parts of the wall are mainly in a state of disrepair.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Islands have a unique and diverse ecosystem. It was on this island that Charles Darwin formulated the theory of natural selection. However, the Galapagos Island ecosystem is fragile, particularly to the outside influence. In 2007, the location was placed on the danger list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Currently, several tourist restrictions have been adopted to preserve the wildlife and the land in Galapagos. Some of the measures include the requirement that all tourists be accompanied by tour guides when they are visiting the Galapagos National Park.
The Great Pyramids, Egypt
The pyramid of Giza is the only remaining structure of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. It was built in about 2560 BC, and initially, it was 481 feet tall. It held the record as the tallest human-made structure in the world for close to 3,800 years. Between January and September of 2017, about 5.9 million tourists visited Egypt, which was a significant increase from 3.8 million in 2016. World tourism organization ranked the country in 2017 as the second-fastest tourism destination in the world. In 2010, before the revolution, the country was receiving 14.7 million tourists annually, and the tourism industry employed more than 10% of the country’s labor force. Several years of mass tourism in the country have resulted in irreparable damage to the great pyramids. On the other hand, attempts to restore the damaged parts have led to further damage.
Boracay refers to an island in the Philippines, and in 2016, it was home to about 32,267 residents. The island is famous for its sandy beaches, and it has been declared as one of the top destinations in the world for relaxation. In 2012, the island was awarded by the Travel + Leisure magazine as the best island in the world. By 2013, the island was among the world’s top emerging destinations for nightlife and tranquility. In 2014, the island was ranked by Condé Nast Traveler international magazine at the top of the best islands in the world. By 2016, it was ranked as the leading top ten destinations to watch in the world. However, lately, the island has earned a dubious reputation, and it is one of the places that have been affected by tourism. It has been reported that raw sewage is being dumped into the water. In April 2018, the island was temporarily closed to carry out significant renovations works on the sewage system. It was reopened in October 2018, with new rules to address different issues.
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
The Phi Phi islands in Thailand are among the leading tourist destinations in the world. The island has clear waters and pristine beaches. As a result, a massive influx of tourists has severely affected the island. For instance, there are numerous resort developers on the island. The government of Thailand has taken up measures to preserve the island. Recently Koh Tachai Island was closed indefinitely to give time to the environment to rehabilitate.
Pig Beach, Bahamas
Big Major cay is among the leading tourist attractions in the Bahamas. The island is inhabited by wild pigs that have learned to swim in the sea. This phenomenon has become a significant tourist attraction on the island. Recently, there was a substantial concern after several pigs died on the island, and tourists were blamed for the incident. The pigs were brought to the island in the late 1990s following the Y2K Millennium bug fears. The Farmers had believed food supplies would also crash along with the computers, and they brought pigs to rise on the island. According to the residents, the tourists are feeding pigs improperly by giving them all manner of stuff. Pigs have been given rum and beers, while others have been seen riding on pigs. Currently, the government of the Bahamas has banned any feeding of pigs by the tourists.
Italy has the highest number of World Heritage sites than any other country in the world, which attracts tourists in millions every year. The city of Venice has always been popular with tourists because of its stunning buildings, tasty food, and gondolas. However, a large number of tourists have caused frustrations among the locals. In 2017, about 2,000 local residents held a street protest against rising tourism. The protestors demanded better local services and housing in the city. They also voiced their concerns against pollution as a result of the large cruise ships. UNESCO has also noted the pressure on the city caused by high tourism. The high tourism has led to a functional transformation in the city. Residential houses have been converted into commercial activities.
In the past, Antarctica was one of the remote locations in the world. However, this has changed, particularly in the recent past. The increasing volume of cruise ships has accelerated the rate of water pollution. This has threatened Antarctica’s coastline, including the species inhabiting the region. The Antarctic Treaty has set limits to the number of onshore people to only 100 people at a time. No ship carrying more than 500 people is allowed in any of the landing sites.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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