We all need to leave the house from time to time in order to get away from the daily grind that plagues our lives, and it is because of this need that the tourism industry has become a trillion dollar enterprise. Usually, people go on vacation during the summer or winter months, either to get away from the cold or because that is when they get their days off from work. In most cases, those same people tend to leave their own country in order to experience some of the finer places that our world has to offer. No matter where you go, you will be able to find amazing resorts and/or landmarks to visit, and each and every one of them is unique in its own way.
Some of these destinations and landmarks are either manmade or are a result of Mother Nature, and most of them have been around for thousands of years, but no matter how they were made or how old they are, they still manage to fill us with a sense of wonder. With that being said, many of the world’s most famous landmarks and destinations are in trouble, either because of the passage of time which takes its toll on everything or because of human interaction and climate change. In fact, they are in so much trouble that there is a high probability of them completely disappearing in the future. Here are 25 amazing places that people need to visit before they disappear.
25 The Taj Mahal
Millions of people visit India every year, and who can blame them, seeing that the country has a variety of food, music, and sightseeing to offer. Nevertheless, there is always one landmark in particular that gets most of the attention. The Taj Mahal was built in the 1600s and is an ivory-white marble mausoleum situated in the city of Agra, which was built by the emperor at the time in order to honor his favorite wife. If this architectural marvel is not properly conserved and restored from time to time, there is a good chance that erosion caused by all the tourism, the overpopulation, and the pollution will make it collapse. It would be the end of one of the world's most stunning man-made landmarks.
24 Big Sur
We all know that California is home to Hollywood, a neighborhood that gets its fair share of tourists every single year, but if you are more interested in seeing a spectacular California landmark instead of celebrities, then you should head for Big Sur. This lengthy stretch of coastline is known for its dramatic scenery, to the point that some consider it to be a national treasure, and it also provides visitors with the opportunity to do some pretty intense whale-watching. Now is the time to visit the coastal wonder though, because drought and wildfires have already caused significant damage to the coastline, to the point that fewer and fewer whales are now visiting the area every year.
23 Galapagos Islands
Ecuador has its own tourist attractions, but the best place to visit cannot be found on the mainland, as the Galapagos Islands are located just off the country’s shores. The reason the islands are so popular is that of the unique animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world and because the waters around the islands are perfect for scuba diving. The islands receive over 150,000 visitors a year, with the biggest attractions being the giant tortoises, the iguanas, and the penguin colonies. Unfortunately, due to rising sea levels and environmental impacts that tourists have had on the area, all of that wildlife is at risk of disappearing.
22 The Everglades
Thanks to its proximity to the ocean, Florida has developed its own unique culture, and when you combine that with the state’s warm temperature, beaches, and theme parks, you can see why Florida is a must-see destination. The Sunshine State is also home to the Everglades, and as of right now, this beautiful and biodiverse area is the most endangered park in the United States. The Everglades are roughly half the size they were in 1900, mainly due to rising sea levels, pollution, urban development, and drainage. If restoration efforts are not planned out, it will not be long before riding a boat through the mangrove forests becomes completely unfeasible.
21 Glacier National Park
The state of Montana is known for its farmland, but its Western half is even better known for its mountain ranges. Along with its border with Canada, you can find the Glacier National Park. The park covers more than 1 million acres, and it contains 2 mountain ranges and over 130 lakes, but as you might have guessed, its main attraction is its pristine glaciers. The park once contained 125 glaciers, but due to global warming, that number has dwindled to 25, and they are melting too, at a rate that will likely make them all disappear by 2030.
20 Mendenhall Glacier
As far as most people are concerned, Alaska is a cold place with very few options of things to do other than hunting, but it comes as no surprise to know that the state has some of the best landscapes you will ever see. Those who have visited Alaska will tell you that its cold climate is actually a bonus, because, without it, the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier may have never existed. Beneath this glacier, you can find the Mendenhall Valley, which is just as impressive, as it is filled with breathtaking and uniquely shaped ice-capped domes and ice caves. Like the rest of the state though, this area is being affected by warming temperatures; this phenomenon is causing the caves and the glacier to melt at an incredibly fast rate.
The world is filled with tropical places, one indispensable place for your bucket list is known as Seychelles, which can be found off the eastern shores of Africa. Seychelles are a combination of several stunning tropical islands, and it is because of their overwhelming beauty that thousands of eager honeymooners and paradise-seekers visit them every year. If you ever want to experience this place you should hurry, because time is running out as the islands are slowly being taken by the ocean, due to beach encroachment and rising sea levels. The islands are actually predicted to disappear within the next 50-100 years, so now is the time to plan a spectacular 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd honeymoon.
18 The Amazon Rainforest
South America fosters several cultures amongst its 12 countries, but 9 of those countries have one geographical marvel in common: the Amazon rainforest. When it comes to biodiversity, the Amazon reigns supreme, as the 2.1 million square miles area is home to over 300 billion different species of trees, plants, animals, birds, fish, and insects. This rainforest is so diverse, that no group of people will ever experience the same sightseeing adventure twice. As a result of the never-ending deforestation, a time may come when there is no rainforest to visit at all.
17 The Grand Canyon
We are going to see a lot of classic tourist destinations on this list, but none of them compare to the Grand Canyon, which is approximately 5.6 million years old, and which attracts around 5 million visitors every year. The Canyon is the biggest attraction that Arizona has to offer, and at 277 miles long, it is no wonder why multiple resorts have been built around it. The Grand Canyon has recently been added to the list of the most endangered historic places in the U.S., by cause of urban development and uranium mining, both of which have put large portions of the canyon in danger of destruction.
Most of the places on this list are now putting restrictions on tourism, but none of their restrictions are in need to be updated as the ones on the island nation of Tuvalu. The island is located between Australia and Hawaii, and only about 1,600 people are allowed to visit the area annually, which is a real shame since the islands are surrounded by beautiful reefs and fantastic pools. The reason why Tuvalu does not allow many tourist entries per year is because the nation is already being threatened by rising sea levels, which is to be expected when the nation’s highest point lays just about 15 feet above sea level. Based on these factors, you better hope that Tuvalu’s waiting list is not too long.
15 Magdalen Islands
Quebec is a strange place, as it is the only territory in North America were people predominantly speak French, but despite the language barrier, there are many attractions that tourists can enjoy. For instance, Quebec is home to the Magdalen Islands, which are a small archipelago located on the Saint Lawrence River and they are known for their sandy white beaches and sandstone cliffs. The islands are a great place for bike riding, kayaking, camping, and windsurfing, but as a consequence of their coasts constantly being hit by strong winds, roughly 40 inches of land are being lost yearly, and once the miles of frozen water surrounding the islands melts in the next 75 years, its chances of disappearing will increase dramatically.
Each of the world’s continents has climates that change throughout the year, except for one: Antarctica, a continent that is extremely cold, windy, and dry all year long. Now, it is true that Antarctica is remote, and it is also true that its climate is not ideal for a lot of people, but it is still an incredibly beautiful sight to behold, especially because of its magnificent and massive ice shelves and glaciers. It also sports massive sea lion and penguin colonies. However, out of all the continents, Antarctica is the only one that is gradually getting smaller, due to rising temperatures worldwide, which means that the Earth might hold a future with only 6 continents.
13 The Mosques of Timbuktu
Timbuktu sounds like a fictional place, but it is actually the name of an ancient city located in Mali, and it comes with its own historical tourist attraction. The Mosques of Timbuktu were originally built between the 14th and 16th century, and for the most part, the structures are made almost entirely out of mud and their architecture is so unique that over 100,000 people visit them every year. Since they are made out of mud though, the buildings are in grave danger from a stability standpoint, due to encroaching sand, hot temperatures and rainfall, and the fact that tourists have a hard time restraining themselves from touching these majestic structures.
12 The Congo River basin
Africa is considered to be a very hot and dry place, but what many people may be surprised to know is that it is home to the second largest rainforest in the world. The Congo basin is one of our planet’s most biodiverse areas, covering around 1.3 million square miles, and aside from the tropical rainforest, it also contains large wetlands. Much like the in the Amazon, farming, mining, and illegal logging are negatively affecting the basin, destroying nearly 10 million acres every year. This is the time to visit the area because it is believed that 66% of the basin will be gone by 2040.
11 Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro can be found in the African country of Tanzania, but what many of you may find surprising is the fact that it is not just a mountain, but an actual dormant volcano. From its base, the volcano is 19,341 feet above sea level, and thanks of its snowy peaks, it is a picturesque destination that is unique to the continent, with the summit being attainable, the entire mountain is a climber’s paradise. Unfortunately, what makes Mount Kilimanjaro special may not exist for much longer because it is being affected by climate change, to the point that it may not have any ice on its peaks within the next 20 years.
10 The Dead Sea
You would not think that something called the “Dead Sea” would be a tourist attraction, but in truth, people have been visiting it for thousands of years, despite the fact that the water is insanely salty. The Dead Sea is bordered by Israel and Jordan, and aside from being a great place to float around in, countless of people all over the world have benefitted from the salt and the minerals from the region. The body of water is expected to be bone dry within the next 50 years, as more than 2 billion gallons of water are drained from it every year to benefit mining operations.
9 The Alps
A lot of people enjoy skiing and snowboarding, which is why many of those people go to skiing resorts in the winter time, and it is because of the popularity of these resorts that the Alps are filled with tourists every year. The Alps span to roughly 750 miles, and if you are feeling up to it, you can use the mountains as a launching pad for a European tour, as they span across 8 countries, including Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Now is the time to plan such a ski trip though, as certain areas have already been closed off due to a lack of snow caused by rising temperatures.
8 The Maldives
India receives millions of visitors every year, but as beautiful as the country is, it does not offer the tropical allure that some people look for. Luckily, just to the south of India, you have the Maldives, a combination of 26 small islands and reefs, which bring new meaning to the term “tropical paradise”, and it sports over 70 resorts that are meant to accommodate the 600,000 tourists the area receives annually. You will regret never experiencing the beauty of these islands, and time is running out to do so, because this tropical paradise is actually the lowest-lying country in the world, so the entire area will soon be washed away if the sea level happens to rise.
In the southern portion of South America, we have the Patagonia region, which is shared between Argentina and Chile, and although it is known for its deserts and grasslands, it also contains the southern part of the Andes mountains. It is there that you will find Patagonia’s glaciers, which happen to be the region’s most popular tourist attraction, and rightfully so because, with South America’s hot and humid climate, the existence of these glaciers are a true marvel. The glaciers are not immune to climate change, which is causing the massive ice flows to shrink at an accelerated rate.
6 Machu Picchu
The Inca Empire left quite a bit behind, but one of the most noteworthy remnants of the civilization is the Inca Citadel in Peru known as Machu Picchu. The Citadel is situated on a mountain ridge roughly 7,970 feet above sea level, and it includes several structures made from stone that is decorated in the famous Inca style. Machu Picchu is Peru’s biggest draw, as evidenced by the fact that over 1.4 million people visited it last year alone, but all those people have taken their toll on the landmark. The area is dealing with environmental degradation, erosion, and landslides, which is why Peru is starting to limit the number of tourists who can visit the area.
Seychelles are not the only picturesque islands that are part of Africa, as Madagascar can also be found just off the coast of East Africa. Unlike Seychelles though, Madagascar contains a rainforest-type ecosystem, which makes it much more of a sightseeing destination than a place to go honeymooning with your significant other. The island’s main draw lies with all the unique plants and trees that grow nowhere else in the world, and it also happens to be home to the iconic lemur, but in the near future, tourists may not be able to see any of these things as most of the forest and wildlife have already disappeared as a result of illegal poaching and logging.
4 The Great Barrier Reef
Australia is a magical place, a sentiment that is shared amongst many people, as the country gets millions of tourists every year. Australia is known for its beaches, its zoos, and the Outback, but the country is also a scuba diving paradise, mainly because of the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for about 1,400 miles, and it is made up of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. When the Reef is left undisturbed, it shows just how beautiful our oceans are, but again, climate change and as well as increased water acidification are endangering the area and life underwater.
3 The Egyptian Pyramids
Human beings have built some incredible structures over the past 3 thousand years, but even with all the things we have discovered, the Giza Pyramids are still considered to be the greatest feat of ancient human architecture and engineering. The pyramids are listed as one of the world’s Seven Wonders, a title that is very much deserved, as people are still unsure how the Ancient Egyptians were able to construct such massive limestone and granite structures. More than 10 million people visit the pyramids every year, but pollution, sewage, and urban encroachment are threatening the massive tombs that have stood for over 4,000 years.
2 The Great Wall Of China
Many people believe that the Pyramids are the largest man-made structures from the ancient world, but in truth, it is the Great Wall of China that holds that title, as it stretches for roughly 13, 171 miles. The Wall was originally built to defend against raids and invasions, but it now attracts roughly 10 million people every single year as one of China's most visited tourist attractions. The problem though is that the wall is being exposed to over farming that is causing it to erode much faster, and with large sections of it already being significantly damaged, it may not be long before people are prohibited to step foot on it.
Italy has more than 2,000 years of history, and several of their historical landmarks have survived, which is why it is still one of the most visited countries in all of Europe. One of the most popular places to visit in Italy is the city of Venice, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, known for its architecture and artwork, and for the canals that run through it. Approximately 60,000 people visit Venice every day. Unfortunately, this Italian city is threatened by rising sea levels and a higher frequency of flooding. Furthermore, the city is slowly sinking, which means that gondola rides could go extinct in the near future.
References: businessinsider.com, localadventurer.com, list25.com