With the creation of modern modes of transportation like planes, traveling to new and exotic places with more ease and comfort is possible. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, over sixty-six million citizens of the United States traveled abroad back in 2016. And the number of trips abroad worldwide grew by nearly 4% in the first eight months of 2016, according to IPK International.
Traveling to new places can be a lot of fun, and so is experiencing new cultures. The more people travel, the more connected we can find ourselves to one another, finding that there are more similarities between us than differences. And tourism often brings a pretty big boom to a country's economy. Just about 10% of the world's jobs are affected by tourism!
But, unfortunately, there are downsides to tourism that aren't often advertised. Sometimes it puts a heavy strain on the locations that are visited, sometimes it uses up local resources that were limited. And sometimes sites that deserve respect are thoroughly disrespected. There have been many cases where people who visit other countries aren't on their best behavior and do things that make most of us shake out heads and ask "why". It can really affect the charm a sight once had, or even make relations between locals and tourists tense, as locals don't want to see their home, and culture being treated in such a way.
Here we bring you a list of 25 sights that should be respected but never are.
25 The Great Wall Of China, China
Everyone has heard of the Great Wall of China, which took approximately a millennia to build. It is made from stone, brick, wood, and numerous other things. Given the significance of it and the time put into it, it would stand to reason that this is a place to be respected. Right? Wrong.
Visitors from all over, including locals, etch their names into the ancient surface of the wall, steal a piece or worse, sell pieces of it.
Worse yet, rubbish litters the culturally significant area, and there are even reports of visitors spitting on the wall itself.
24 Machu Pichu, Peru
The "lost" city of Peru has been a popular destination for tourists all around the world. Since its discovery, nearly 100 years ago, people have flocked to it, wanting to catch a glimpse of what ancient Inca life was like. In a twist of irony, its popularity is one of its sources of destruction.
Thousands of people visit Machu Picchu every year and that much traffic has caused erosion to the Inca roads leading to the site.
Tourists also do things that they shouldn't do, as reported ChicagoTribune.com. Tourists have been caught climbing structures, taking stones and even leaving litter around!
23 Stonehenge, United Kingdom
This ancient monument in the United Kingdom is not only one of the most famous landmarks of the country, but it also holds a lot of mystery to it. There is a theory that it could have been a burial ground and since the 20th century, it has become a site of pagan worship.
One would think that would be enough to have it be treated with respected, but unfortunately, workers at the site are often left cleaning up the messes left behind during the Winter Solstice. And back in 2015 Stonehenge was defaced with gum and graffiti.
22 Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
While this beautiful landmark was renamed Ayers Rock in the 1870s, it was originally called Uluru by the Aboriginal. It's an iconic part of Australian tourism, but it is also a sacred site to the Anangu people who believe it holds great spiritual significance.
The Anangu people have requested that tourists not climb the site, but unfortunately, it is legal to do so.
If cultural disrespect wasn't bad enough, people have left a permanent impact on the surface of the sandstone with the soles of their shoes, they litter and relieve themselves along the way to the top.
21 Crater Lake National Park, United States
The United States has a lot to offer in sites for tourism. The 58 parks that make up the United States National Parks are a big pull for tourism and shows off the natural beauty of the country.
Every national park has its own set of rules, but the consensus of all of them can be summed up as "Take only memories. Leave nothing but footprints".
And the laws are taken very seriously, as one California woman learned back in 2016. She defaced multiple rock formations with pen and acrylic drawing in seven parks, which included the Crater Lake National Park.
20 Pyramid Of The Sun, Mexico
The Pyramid of the Sun is an important historical sight of Mexican heritage. It is the most visited archaeological site in the entire country. It especially gets a lot of attention during the equinox as many believe that standing on top of the pyramid will bestow them with a special type of "spiritual" energy.
Tourists have been known for leaving their trash at the site, which prompted the creation of Operation Equinox.
It is a movement that not only prevents visitors from bringing food and drinks to the site but keeps them from climbing on the pyramid, to preserve its natural structure.
19 Boracay, Philippines
Boracay is a gorgeous tropical island found in the Philippines. It was once one of the most lauded tourist destinations on the planet, but in April 2018, it was closed to the public to allow it to recuperate. Why? A lack of respect for the land.
The white sand of the beaches was littered with trash, including plastic water-bottles, straws, and broken glass.
Sewage ran straight into the water. There were hundreds of environmental violations found by inspectors. LaBoracay, a massive island party that drew in tens of thousands of tourists, left over 10,000kg of trash in its wake.
Because of just how cold it is, Antartica is one of the only places in the world that remains free of towns, cities, and industries. And that is one of its pulls to tourism, as people get to see it for its natural beauty.
But despite its lack of permanent human residents, Antartica still suffers at the hands of humanity.
Fishing and hunting, the legal and illegal kind, and the introduction of invasive species are threatening its biodiversity. And so is tourism with the pollution cruise ships bring. Global warming is a major issue as well.
17 Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The beautiful Cambodian complex of temples, Angkor Wat, is one of the largest religious landmarks in the world. Its original purpose was to be a dedicated Hindu temple for the god Vishnu, but over time, it transformed into a Buddhist temple. Given that it is such a beautiful, elaborate structure that has obvious religious significance, acting in a respectful manner seems like an obvious thing. But that isn't the case.
Many tourists have been deported from the country for taking inappropriate photos at the site, climbing on the sacred ruins, putting their hands on ancient carvings, and other things that disrespect the Cambodians' culture and heritage.
16 Luxor Temple, Egypt
The Luxor Temple has been a source of wonder and amazement to the world for years. It is one of Egypt's greatest historical landmarks and has stood the test of time for over thousands of years. Tourists have flocked to see it to take a trip back to the past.
Tourism in general speeds up the process of aging on any historical site, but bad behavior out of tourists put an even bigger strain on the monument.
In 2013 a Chinese student defaced some of the hieroglyphics along the walls of the temple causing outrage in both Egypt and China.
15 Maya Beach, Thailand
Due to the popularity of the movie, The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Maya Bay beach in Thailand had been a sought-after travel destination for many people for years.
The idyllic island paradise doesn't look as it once did, during the height of tourist season it is crowded, often inhabited by rowdy and obnoxious tourists who leave trash everywhere.
Things had gotten so out of control that there was a tourist ban of the beach put on it, and earlier this month it was shut down completely, "until natural resources return to normal", reported CNN.com.
14 Mt. Everest, Nepal
To climb Mount Everest is probably on a lot of people's bucket lists. It is the main tourist attraction for Nepal which draws hundreds of tourists who seek adventure. However, tourism has led to quite a few problems.
The number one problem is all the trash left behind by tourists.
There are dumping grounds of all the trash that comes from climbers and their base camps that end up at the base of the mountain. And it isn't properly disposed of, the trash piles are often burnt and then buried.
13 Cozumel, Mexico
Mexico not only has a rich culture but has a number of beautiful beaches that are just within reach for many tourists from the United States and Canada. And the beaches of Cozumel could be considered a tropical paradise if it wasn't for the disrespectful nature of some tourists.
Cozumel and many other places like it are considered to be popular "party" locations for tourists. Beaches like Cozumel's "Rocky Beach" get littered with trash like plastic bottles every year. It even gets into the water, causing problems for the marine life.
12 Big Major Cay Island, Bahamas
Big Major Cay Island is an interesting tourist attraction. The draw to this island in the Bahamas isn't its beaches or blue water but what inhabits both... pigs. Big Major Cay Island is also unofficially known as Pig Island as it is inhabited by a colony of feral pigs.
The pigs love to swim and are fairly friendly, allowing tourists to swim along with them! It is a charming attraction that is being ruined by people feeding the pigs things that make them sick. Tourists have been feeding them on the beach too, which causes them to ingest too much sand.
11 Easter Island, Chile
One of the main draws to Easter Island is probably the mysterious but interesting giant stone statues left behind by the ancient Rapa Nui civilization. Though no one knows their exact purpose, they have drawn the attention of tourists from all over the world.
Unfortunately, the number of tourists that visit the island, around 100,000 every year, are endangering these ancient statues. The Moai are very fragile, and sometimes tourists can't seem to help but touch them. There are even instances of tourists deliberately breaking off pieces of the statues to keep as souvenirs.
10 Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum is a desert located in the country of Jordan that has a couple of other names, including Roman Valley and Valley of the Moon. Its imposing sandstone mountains are home to many inscriptions and carvings from prehistoric times, making it a culturally and historically significant place.
That, of course, seems to be the most popular type of place for the worst kinds of travelers.
This beautiful, one of a kind place that has been described as the closest you can get to camping on Mars, has been strewn with rubbish from inconsiderate people from all over the world.
9 Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has long been like a storybook destination with its picturesque buildings. Its sights and history rival that of Paris, Berlin, and other European cities. For some time Prague was a sort of "secret" destination location, but not anymore.
And the locals are feeling the strain of the increase in tourism.
The streets are almost always crowded with tourists, especially in the Old Town Square and at popular sites like Charles Bridge, not only overcrowding the streets, but also putting a strain on local resources.
8 The Colosseum, Italy
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy is one of the most iconic landmarks of all time. It was once used to host a wide variety of things, but the most internationally known were the gladiatorial events.
Over the centuries, some of the Colosseum has fallen to ruin, in part because of natural disasters like earthquakes, but also because of stone robbers, which are unfortunately exactly what they sound like.
Unruly tourists haven't helped very much either, since it isn't exactly uncommon to hear of people climbing the Colosseum, stealing pieces of it, or carving their names into the ancient structure.
7 The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Australian Great Barrier Reef is made up of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and 600+ types of coral. It stretches over 1430 miles, making it the largest coral reef in the world. Even more, it's the largest living thing on Earth, and it can even be seen from outer space!
Do you know what else it is? One of the least respected natural masterpieces around. In recent times, the Great Barrier Reef is beginning to lose its color, and parts of it are even starting to die because of coral mining, overfishing, canal digging, and, of course, pollution.
6 Auschwitz Museum, Poland
The Auschwitz Museum in Poland is a reminder of the atrocities committed in WW2. Most people wouldn't have to be told that such a place should be treated with solemn respect, but unfortunately, that isn't always as it plays out.
According to The Telegraph, back in 2014, there were several cases of theft and vandalism which have included messages scratched into the bunks of prisoners, people stealing items like spikes and barbed wire from the railway line.
5 Venice, Italy
Venice is found in a lagoon in the Adriatic sea, where it is spread out over more than 100 small islands that are woven with canals. There are countless beautiful sights to see and once in a lifetime experiences to be had, but it is marred by the disrespectful behavior of visitors.
In 2017 Venice City Council was forced to release a set of guidelines Guidelines that should be common sense to most, like swimming in the canals. The beautiful canals and the islands themselves are all marred by pieces of rubbish left behind by locals and tourists alike!
4 Jaisalmer Fort, India
Jaisalmer Fort is a historical landmark that can be found in the city of Jaisalmer, India. Approximately a fourth of the city's population still resides in the fort. The local airport does not allow commercial flights to come in or out, but each year, hundreds of thousands of travelers still find their way there.
Unfortunately, neither the architecture of the fort or the local infrastructure is current enough to be able to withstand the amount of tourism that it's been faced with recently, and it is slowly beginning to fall apart.
3 Santorini, Greece
The island of Santorini is one of the most popular travel destinations. In the 16th century BC, it was leveled by a volcanic eruption that left the landscape sculpted, making it a beautiful and unique sight to see. However, the reason that most are drawn here? Partying! During the summer months, Santorini, Greece is an internationally renowned party spot.
The locals simply tolerate it, since during the off-season it's a quiet, idyllic place to live.
We would imagine that it's hard to ignore the travelers, as they don't show much regard for the area or its inhabitants during their trips!
2 Galapagos Island
The Galapagos Island is a natural draw for most tourists seeking out adventure and those who want to experience the wonder of nature. It has a very interesting and unique ecosystem, with wildlife that is generally friendly and playful due to the lack of natural predators.
The increased number of tourists and residents, as it is one of the fastest-growing economies in South America, are hurting the natural wildlife.
Not only are invasive species being introduced, but a number of the natural species face the danger of being run over by cars or caught in fishing nets.
1 Bagan, Myanmar
Bagan is an ancient city in Myanmar that once served as the capital of the Pagan Kingdom. It features thousands of ancient Buddhist monuments, several of which have survived through centuries of conflict, power shifts, and natural disasters.
However, the most recent threat that they must endure comes in the form of disrespectful tourists from far and wide.
Defacing the treasured architecture of Bagan is a common activity for travelers, and climbing on them or breaking them in order to take a piece home is, too. Several temples are even covered in graffiti from people all over the world.
Resources: CNN.com, TheGuardian.com, TheConversation.com, TheTelegraph