Each Thursday, I have made it a goal to scour thru my favorite travel websites and see what is new. Without fail, I always run across a few articles that I feel are worth passing on. This week, I would like to share with you an article I found on Condê Nast Traveler.
This particular article caught my eye. It is titled “10 Places Telling Tourists to Stay Home.” I was thinking this article had more to do with cities with high terror threats, but boy was I mistaken. If any of these places are on your list, I suggest you go while you still can!
10 Places Telling Tourists to Stay Home
1. Cinque Terre
Italian officials have plans to cap the number of people who are allowed to visit the city each year. This change is brought on by environmental concerns. A staggering 2.5 million travelers visited Cinque Terre in 2015. This has been restricted to 1.5 million per year going forward.
In 2015, Barcelona’s mayor discussed implementing an entry cap on the city. Plans are in development to put a city-wide freeze on the development of new hotels.
Bhutan has found a way to keep their tourism minimal. All foreign visitors – except those holding Indian, Maldivian, or Bangladeshi passports must obtain a visa and book their trip through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. In addition, visitors must also pre pay the “minimum daily package” (either $200 or $250 a day depending on the month). This value is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan. These fees cover accommodations, all meals, guides, internal transport, and a sustainable tourism royalty that goes toward free education, health care, and poverty alleviation. Because of this, it is no surprise that only 133,480 international and regional tourists visited Bhutan in 2014.
Tourism in Iceland is skyrocketing year-to-year. Approximately 970,000 people visited in 2014 – three times the country’s population, and a 24% increase over 2013. In May 2015, the number of visitors increased by 76% over the 2014 period. The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre is currently researching how “full” a site can get before the value of the experience is jeopardized. To sum it up, they want tourism to decrease to ensure the people are getting the type of experience they are paying for.
5. Galápagos Islands
These 19 islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador are being burdened by residents and tourists. Home to some 9,000 species on land and the surrounding waters, 97% of the land area is designated as part of a national park and being monitored to ensure there is no more impact on the islands’ health or wildlife. Tourists must adhere to 14 rules, be accompanied by a National Park Guide, and can only travel to specific visitor sites. Because of changes, the U.N. removed the Galápagos from its “in danger” list in 2010.
6. Machu Picchu
This site dating back to the 15th century was visited by some 1.2 million tourists in 2014. This surpassed the daily limit of 2,500 by nearly 788 per day. UNESCO has stepped in and intends to clamp down on the number of visitors. The $43.7-million reconceptualization, expected to be completed by 2019, will require all foreign visitors to hire a guide, follow one of three designated routes, and be subjected to time limits in order to prevent bottlenecking. The site was added to UNESCO’s endangered list in January 2016.
7. Lord Howe Island
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a seven-square-mile island located 370 miles off the coast of mainland Australia. added to UNESCO in 1982, it is known for its rare flora, fauna, and marine life. More than 400 species of fish and 90 species of coral thrive in its surrounding waters. Dubbed as one of the cleanest places on earth, nearly 75% of the island’s original vegetation undisturbed. It’s home to 350 full-time residents and has a limit of 400 visitors on the island at any given time.
It is no surprise to see this on the list. Due to an increase in visitors, Antarctic Treaty began being ratified in 2011. Further, cruise ships with more than 500 passengers are barred from landing sites, no more than 100 passengers can be on shore at a time, and landing sites are restricted to one vessel at a time per site. Today, visitors must travel through approved operators and organizers to step foot on or cruise by the continent.
9. The Seychelles
Made up of 115 islands of the East African coast, the Seychelles have grown in popularity for both “regular” tourists and royalty (Will and Kate honeymooned here). Its minister of tourism and culture is working on curbing the number of annual visitors in order to protect its future. In 2015, nearly 250,000 people visited the islands – six times the population of the islands.
10. Mt. Everest
The Nepalese government began taking steps before the 2015 Nepal earthquake to reduce the number of teams and climbers attempting to summit the world’s highest peak. Among these steps were increasing the fee for foreign climbers from $10,000 to $11,000, and establishing a liaison office at base cam to verify experience, health, and climbing conditions. Next on the list is putting an emphasis on forming smaller climbing teams to prevent “traffic jams” on the routes.
You can read the original article on Condê Nast Traveler here.