Tourism has exploded in the past two decades. Places that used to be relatively comfortable to visit are now chock full of people just like you, traveling thousands of miles to see whatever famous site it is.
Unfortunately, all those extra people visiting is wreaking havoc on some of these special places. Besides the overcrowding, there’s the garbage that careless travelers leave behind (which is always a problem, but now it’s “X” times as much because they have “X” times more tourists), plus the carbon footprint from the trains, planes and automobiles to get them there.
That’s on top of the other problems touristy areas encounter.
To try to combat this, Fodor’s releases an annual “No Go” list that has popular places that need a break from tourists. This year’s list includes 13 locations that fall into 8 categories:
The Place That Could Kill You
I don’t know why anyone would want to go to a place that could potentially kill you. Well, I guess I do…the excitement, the adventure, etc. But nope, no adrenaline rush is worth possibly hurling down a mountain by mistake, so yeah, Fodor’s recommends you stop visiting the Matterhorn.
The Place Where You Shouldn’t Take Part In This Tourist Attraction
Thailand has been offering elephant rides to tourists for years. According to a study done by Intrepid Travel and World Animal Protection:
In the 118 elephant venues assessed, we found over 1300 animals suffering in terrible conditions: taken young from the wild, separated from their familial groups, broken again and again using sharp hooks and other tools, chained up at night and denied good nutrition. All for the sake of 10-minute tourist ride, or a circus-like show where animals were made to stand on their hind legs, or juggle, or paint pictures using their trunks.
If you care at all about animals, skipping the elephant things should be a no brainer.
The Places Where You Should Be Careful About Drinking
Several tourists in Costa Rica and Mexico have died because of drinking alcohol tainted with Methanol. Investigations continue but authorities are still not sure when or where these cases are coming from, so it’s probably better to stay a teetotaler right now, if you visit either country.
The Places That Are In Need of Healing
Why would someone go somewhere when they know their visit is just hurting the thing they’re visiting? But that’s what’s happening to a bunch of coral reefs around the world. The reef tract along the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (it stretches about 360 miles along southeastern Florida) is suffering from a mysterious disease that seems to be transmitted via touch and water circulation. The disease is spreading to other coral reefs, including the Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel, which is a popular spot for vacationers and cruise ships.
The Places That Are Considering Charging Large Tourists Taxes To Keep You Away
For the past 20 years, international tourists who visit the Galapágos National Park pay a $100 fee per visit. Don’t be surprised if you soon have to pay $400 to visit the Galápagos with only one or two nights on the mainland (the money would go towards protection, preservation, and management of the islands’ ecology).
Meanwhile, Indonesia is considering a tourist tax (or membership fee) of $1000 to visit Komodo Island.
The Businesses You Might Not Want To Support
Just as some people might not want to eat at Chik-fil-A because of their ethical and/or political stands, there are plenty of hotels where you may or may not want to think twice about staying in a hotel owned by someone because of his/her social or political stance or affiliation. Your Mileage May Vary.
The City That’s Safe For Tourists But Deadly For Residents
Cape Town, South Africa is at the top of the list of the world’s most dangerous cities, with more than 2,800 murders in 2018. The government has gotten involved to help slow down the gang violence that comes up because of drugs, weapons and illicit goods, to say nothing of the city’s issues with corruption and unemployment.
“It is really a tale of two cities,” says Albert Fritz, the provincial minister for community safety. “You can be a tourist in the center of Cape Town [and] you will be totally safe. You will not know that … 10km [6.2 miles] away there are people shooting at police.”
The Places That Don’t Want You:
Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the country’s most visited attraction. Unfortunately, the wear and tear of all the people that come to visit it are causing damage to the temple’s foundation and structural integrity. All the tourists’ use of water has also caused problems.
The Indonesian government is considering a tourist tax but that’s just a spit in the ocean, since they’re also having increasing problems with trash on the beaches and in the ocean (the Bali Environmental Agency said that the island produced 3,800 tons of waste every day and only 60% of it winds up in landfills)
Barcelona just has no more room for the increasing amount of tourists. According to Forbes, “No number of pavement expansions and bus rerouting can solve the fundamental issue that tourism is the number one problem for the city.”
Big Sur (California)
Big Sur is another area that has literally run out of space. The county visitors bureau and the Community Association of Big Sur are “working to develop a destination stewardship plan with sustainable travel at the forefront,” but for now, they just need a break in order to catch up with the number of people who come to visit.
Hanoi Train Street (Vietnam)
The train that carries passengers and cargo has been running through Hanoi’s Old Quarter since 1902. It’s also gotten the attention of tourists, who hang out to watch and get the perfect picture. In turn, coffee shops and touristy places opened, which encourages more tourists to come and hang out. The Vietnam government has now forced all the touristy places to close.
Now might be the time to rethink your 2020 vacation plans…
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary