With the rising popularity of social media, it’s easy to guess why so many people want to travel. These picturesque photos display a perfect reality of a foreign place that is just waiting for you to visit for the perfect ‘get away’. However, sometimes your ‘get away’ is to a place where locals just want you to get away.
It isn’t hard to guess why locals are becoming frustrated with tourism in their home city. Those stunning travel photos don’t show the ugly side of tourism. Many of those scenic destinations are becoming over-crowded, degraded, destroyed, and disrespected. Much of the environmental impact is irreversible or unsustainable, and many of the animals that make for an interesting Instagram photo are mistreated. Normally when you plan a vacation, it doesn’t involve researching the impact on locals the area, but maybe it should become something that we do. Although it’s easy to believe that everything is as perfect as that picture, it is our responsibility as travelers to be informed and not harm where we visit.
Here are 25 places that nobody should be visiting in 2019.
It is no surprise that Santorini has experienced a tourist boom because of their beautiful turquoise waters and stunning houses. In 2015 alone, there were over 790,000 people who visited, according to The Insider. However, the population of the Island is only about 15,000. To regulate this, the Island has now needed to cap the number of tourists to 8000 per day.
However, locals are still struggling, according to Pure Wander. Many who lived there have now left due to rising property costs, and they are struggling to work because the price to ferry to surrounding islands is too high. Those still remaining face disrespectful tourists destroying their property and the main roads are littered with trash.
It is common knowledge that the city of Venice is sinking, however, 80,000 tourists continue to visit the area each day according to Escape Here. The streets and canals are overflowing with tourists, and the Insider reports that the only locals left, have been complaining that tourism and cruise ships have increased the pollution in the city. The tourism and cruise ships have caused severe damage to the fragile lagoon ecosystem and the UNESCO World Heritage Site is at risk of entering the ‘endangered’ list reserved for ruins and sites damaged by war.
Furthermore, the influx of cruise ships has meant there is a lack of overnight tourists, so the city tax that benefits locals is not being paid.
Bali used to be a peaceful area for travellers to take in ancient traditions, lay on beautiful beaches and enjoy local customs. But those days are long gone. Green Global Travel states that due to unregulated development, this naturally beautiful destination is now overrun with large chains and overbearing resorts causing massive amounts of traffic congestion and pollution.
Due to the party culture, places like Kuta Beach are becoming overrun with massive amounts of garbage and pollution because of the lack of recycling initiatives and the high amount of inconsiderate tourists.
The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the iconic image of India. The attraction brings over 8 million people per year according to Green Global Travel, however you never hear of the degradation this tourism is doing to Agra.
Agra has not benefited from an influx of tourists and has not seen an economic or civic improvement. As it is heavily visited, the area has fallen victim to severe pollution. The Taj Mahal now requires a pollution-free zone and mudpacks regularly to clean the surface.
Banff is one of the most famous destinations in Canada. It boasts magnificent mountains, clear blue lakes and glaciers for as far as you can see. However, CNN has reported that some conservationists are recommending a limit to the number of tourists permitted to enter the national park annually. The amount of garbage, wastewater and wildlife interactions have put many ecosystems and animals at risk.
They are expressing concerns that if changes aren’t made, that further degradation will occur and the principal reason will be over-use of national parks by tourists.
Who wouldn’t want to see some of the oldest and most impressive attractions in the world? Egypt features the grandeur of the Pyramids of Giza and is home to King Tut’s burial mask. However, the relatively small sites near Cairo have been swarmed by tourists causing irreversible damage to the ancient structures. In addition, this mass-tourism has led to popup industries such as camel rides, which is unethical and has formed a large work and monetary imbalance in Cairo according to Green Global Travel.
Iceland is a popular adventure destination with so much undeveloped and natural land. The Insider has stated that over 1.26 million people visited Iceland in 2015, however, their population is only about 330,000 people. Tourism has been able to boost Iceland’s economy after the recession. However, local infrastructure is not able to keep up with the influx and it has pushed prices to skyrocket. This has caused almost constant construction in Reykjavik.
The government had to restrict Airbnb rentals in 2016 to reduce the number of visitors, with further measures coming soon.
Cozumel is a stunning island in the Caribbean Sea. It is well known for its beautiful waters, and for being home to one of the world's largest coral reefs. It is one of the top cruise destinations, ranking at second in the world according to the BBC. However, all of the traffic has had severe impacts on the environment.
The coral reefs around Cozumel have been under significant stress. Large portions of the coral have been destroyed by scuba divers and boats according to the Insider, and the remaining reefs have been damaged by pollution.
The ancient Incan village is an important UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been impacted by its popularity, with many inconsiderate tourists wandering from paths and causing sanitation problems. Green Global Travel reports that there is now toilet paper lining the hiking trails, squat toilets overflowing and the preservation is threatened.
The Peruvian government has now capped visitors to 500 permits a day for the Inca Trail and 2500 per day for Machu Picchu, however, it often sees more than double that. Thankfully in 2017, they implemented a condition that tourists must enter in groups of less than 16 with an official guide.
Barcelona is known for the stunning Gaudi architecture, wine and tapas. The Olympics brought attention to Barcelona in 1992, but since then it has risen in popularity and now draws around 32 million visitors annually according to Green Global Travel. However, it has had severe unexpected impacts on the locals.
Airbnb is forcing out locals, as renting to tourists brings in more money than long-term tenants. Those already in housing are, on average, seeing an increase in the price of contract renewals by 20%. Many local shops that have stood for centuries on the Ramblas has been replaced by souvenir shops, as they can no longer last against rising rental prices. This is removing the authenticity of Barcelona and hurting those who live there.
Amsterdam is a stunning city with beautiful canals, stunning architecture, and a lot of history. However, taboo-focused tourism has turned the city into a crowded mess and many locals have complained about the drug culture attracting a very specific type of tourism. The government banned any new tourist-oriented shops from opening because many locals were having difficulty finding shops to get their essentials. Further, they were forced to begin regulating Airbnb as the housing crisis increased.
To help Amsterdam have a more sustainable future, tourists will need to consider staying out of the centre, avoid Airbnb, and visit independent shops run by Dutch entrepreneurs.
Since Leonardo DiCaprio filmed ‘The Beach’, Maya Beach has seen close to 5000 tourists a day visiting to experience the crystal clear waters shown in the film. Many tourists take out boats and swim in the waters, all of which has put stress on the natural ecosystem. The locals have reported that many of the tourists are rowdy and leave behind a large amount of pollution, which then remains on the beach or it enters the water.
Bamba Experience stated that due to these actions, 77% of the Island’s coral reefs have now been put in danger.
Easter Island is known for the Moai stone statues created by the Rapa Nui civilization. However, the remote island sees 100,000 tourists that visit the sites annually which is causing irreversible damage. The statues are very fragile and anyone who touches them causes severe destruction.
According to Green Global Travel, two important sites have now been closed due to deterioration. The small island’s infrastructure and resources are on the verge of collapse due to the surge of visitors, and landfills are taking over much of the islands area. More severe restrictions must be placed to ensure tourists stick to marked trails, do not touch the Moai, respect locals and leave behind no waste.
Dubrovnik is a beautiful town next to the sea with stunning local culture. After Dubrovnik was featured on HBO’s Game of Thrones, there has been a significant increase in tourism, especially due to the cruise ship industry. The tourism boom has boosted the local economy; however, it has crowded the small town to the brink.
The city hasn’t been able to cope with the influx and the Insider is reporting that the city is seeking to reduce the maximum number of tourists per day from 8000 to 4000 over two years.
As locals are struggling to afford the ever-increasing living expenses, many fear that Dubrovnik’s spirit might not be able to bounce back.
Prague is known as a magical city with amazing history, culture and architecture. Prague benefits from a $7 trillion a year tourism industry, however, it has grown at an unsustainable rate according to Green Global Travel. Over-tourism has crowded the magical Charles Bridge with vendors, crowds and pollution. It has become a city popular for partying backpackers because of its bar scene and cheap beer.
The Insider reports that tourists have become too loud and officials have an enforced a quiet time after 10pm. Prices have increased for tourists and locals and it is harming local way of life.
El Nido has become a promising ecotourism destination that now sees over 200,000 visitors. The development required for tourism has meant that there is not enough local food to feed both tourists and locals. According to Green Global Travel, due to the conversion of farmland to resort areas, agriculture cannot keep up with the growing demand.
There is no wastewater management system so sewage from the resorts now goes straight into the ocean, impacting the marine ecosystem, and the once quiet lagoons are now overrun by tourists.
Social media has made Big Major Cay take off due to their adorable swimming pigs. However, it's not all cute smiles and sunshine. The Insider has reported that many of the pigs have been dying because tourists have been feeding them on the beach, causing them to ingest too much sand.
Further, many more rowdy tourists have been known to give the pigs alcohol and try to ride them. The government and owners of the pigs have been working to implement regulations to ensure the safety of the animals according to Bamba Experience.
The picturesque five cities of Cinque Terre are set on the Italian coast. They are a popular day-trip destination for tourists visiting Italy and it is becoming over-run. As it is often just a day-trip destination, locals aren’t benefiting from this influx. Tourists often spend little or no money at local shops, and because tourists don’t stay overnight, the locals don’t benefit from the city tax. Inconsiderate tourists leave behind litter in their wake and treat local homes as if they are a backdrop for their photos. It is putting a strain on the small city and locals are no longer able to enjoy their secluded village.
Cape Town is one of the must-see destinations in South Africa. If you love food, wine, the beach, penguins, and ecotourism, then you might be able to overlook the drought and increasing crime according to Green Global Travel. However, one thing you won’t be able to overlook is the increasing poverty and begging street kids.
There is a growing divide between rich and poor which is only getting worse. Many tourists noticed how cheap properties were and purchased vacation homes in Cape Town which drove up. Green Global Travel says that it is now impossible for locals to afford housing.
One of the most iconic places in Australia is described by Green Global Travel as the symbol of the outback which attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year. It is considered to be a sacred site by the Indigenous Anangu people, and it is protected under the UNESCO World Heritage status because of its ancient rock paintings.
Sadly though, many tourists have been disrespecting the sacred site by polluting and vandalizing at the top of Uluru. Many inconsiderate tourists have even chipped off ancient engravings and carved their names into the stone.
Salar De Uyuni expands over 4085 square miles, but it is becoming over-crowded. Tourism has boosted the Bolivian economy, and Green Global Travel reports that it has been protected the area from lithium mining. However, the number of visitors have surpassed local infrastructure and it is now impacted by unmanaged waste.
As tourists feed wildlife, walk over vegetation and cause erosion, it begins to change the natural environment. Visitors will need to remain in marked areas and begin to support locals.
Halong Bay is one of the most famous locations in Vietnam and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Approximately 3 million tourists visit the site annually.
Green Global Travel reports that over-tourism has resulted in environmental issues and fatal accidents. The mass of tourists and the lack of safety regulations has created a market full of unqualified tour operators. Those tour directors are concerned with profits rather than the safety and protection of the natural environment. As a result, many incidents have occurred putting the safety of tourists in jeopardy and has destroyed the bay’s natural beauty.
Maui has been rated as one of the ‘Best Islands in the World” for years, and it draws around 3 million tourists annually, according to Green Global Travel. But they also report that visitors have driven up local prices, crowded popular areas, and have impacted local environments.
Several species have now been threatened as a result of tourism and have required additional protections. Maui relies on tourism for jobs and to prosper economically, however, it needs better balance to protect its environment and the species that live within it.
Yellowstone National Park is becoming increasingly popular and tourism has gone up by 40%.
Green Global Travel has reported that tourists have been walking off of the trails, and have been causing irreversible damage to the environment by causing erosion and killing vegetation. Many are also throwing coins and food into the geothermal pools, which is harming algae. A few have even walked into the features which can be fatal.
Finally, wildlife interactions between tourists and animals cause them to learn bad habits (such as them thinking that people are food sources), which also can make them become more aggressive.
The Isle of Skye has stunning landmarks that embody the beauty of Scotland. It brings a great amount of income to local businesses; however, it is causing environmental impacts and difficulty with infrastructure. Green Global Travel reports that cars are overflowing from the limited parking lots and blocking local streets.
Many locals even report tourists using the streets as bathrooms due to the lack of public toilets. There is a shortage of accommodations for tourists and officials are now limiting visitors to those with reservations.
Sources: The Insider, CNN, BBC, Green Global Travel, Escape Here, Pure Wander, Bamba Experience