We all love travelling and exploring the unknown, but we all have a price to pay with our wanderlust: damaging the environment and negatively impacting the quality of life of the local population. In some places it’s now gotten so bad that governments are restricting or even outright banning us lot from exploring. It seems harsh, but do you really want the likes of Venice and Antarctica to disappear? We thought not. Here are 11 exceptional, beautiful and dreamy places that really don’t want you to visit them this year.
Why don’t they want you to visit? Barcelona’s beauty is its main problem. Ada Colau, the city’s mayor, is currently developing plans to introduce an entry cap on the amount of people who visit the Catalan city every year. The point of this cap is to balance the tourism industry boom with the concerns of the locals: they’ve even gone as far as considering banning new hotel openings and implementing a tourist tax which would penalise wanderlusters who only visit for a day, as well as incoming cruisers.
Zion National Park, USA…
Why don’t they want you to visit? Land erosion. With a record-breaking four million visitors last year, park officials are considering introducing a daily cap on explorers to combat land decay. Zion Canyon has taken the brunt of this as of late, but Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, the Narrows, and Angels Landing could also be waving goodbye to the Instagram community (literally), too.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador…
Why don’t they want you to visit? To protect these 19 islands from us. Yes, us humans are the ones having an affect on the natural ecosystems surrounding and on the stonkingly beautiful islands that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. An incredible 9,000 species of animals call this land their home. With so many creatures to discover, it’s only natural we want to pack up and see them all, but this is having such a burden on mother nature that the UN had to list the paradisaical destination as an endangered heritage site back in 2007. Ouch. Thankfully, the islands have now been removed from the UN’s endangered list because of stricter monitoring rules and tourists adhering to these very important 14 rules.
Cinque Terre, Italy…
Why don’t they want you to visit? The environment. The five villages that make up Italy’s iconic Cinque Terre region is one of the country’s most popular sites, and for good reason: it’s fabulously picturesque. If you’re a beautiful place, there’s always a slight price to pay, and in this part of the world, the price comes in the form of 2.5 million annual visitors. To avoid any further environmental damage, Italian officials have announced plans to cap the number of visitors to the villages sprinkled along the coast of the Ligurian Sea to 1.5 million per year going forward.
Lord Howe Island, Australia…
Why don’t they want you to visit? It’s a very special place. Yes, that’s right, Lord Howe Island is so special in fact, that only 400 people are allowed to visit it at any given time. Why? Well the seven square mile utopia was declared a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site back in 1982 for all its inhabitants, which come in the form of exceptionally rare flora, fauna and marine life. Oh, and it’s also one of the cleanest places on the planet. The message from the locals is simple – back off.
Why don’t they want you to visit? Because it’s so pretty. Famed for its whitewashed houses and glittering seascapes, the jewels of the Cyclades is saying goodbye to tourists altogether. Sounds harsh, but of late, peak season can see up to 10,000 cruise ship visitors a day. That’s a lot of humans in one small space, right? To combat the problem, the island reduced the number of cruise ship visitors to 8,000 day in 2017. If you’re flying in, don’t worry, the limit in visitors only applies to those coming in by boat. Phew.
Koh Tachai, Thailand…
Why don’t they want you to visit? Because Thailand says so. Closed indefinitely, the gorgeous little island of Koh Tachai (part of Similan National Park) was so popular with tourists authorities had to stop them all from going. The outright ban came into effect because we were destroying the island’s delicate ecosystems. Tourism throughout the National Park area is now drastically limited. Tour guides and operators now have to follow incredibly strict rules on when, where, and how to visit any of the islands. Sayonara to lazing on the beach all day.
Machu Picchu, Peru…
Why don’t they want you to visit? You’re ruining it. Again, blame your feetsies for putting to much damage and stress on the ancient Incan site. But, of course, that’s not the only reason. New measures introduced by the Peruvian government and UNESCO say that by 2019, all foreign visitors must hire a guide, follow one of three designated trail routes, and be subject to timed visits if they plan on visiting the 12-acre Incan citadel. Unfortunately, the mesmerising South American wonder was added to UNESCO’s endangered list in January 2016.
Why don’t they want you to visit? A surge in the number of annual visitors is forcing locals out, so much so that academics think that not a single native Venetian will live in the area by 2030. Things have gotten so bad that the average Venetian can’t even afford rent in their hometown. In a bid to solve the problem, heritage group Italia Nostra (“Our Italy”) has asked the government to ban all incoming cruise ships into the world famous lagoon.
Why don’t they want you to visit? You’re demeaning the appeal of the islands. Yes, islands have dignity too, you know. Popular with us normal folk and royalty (Will and Kate spent their honeymoon here), the islands’ minister of tourism, Alain St Ange, said in April 2015: ‘We don’t want to demean the value of the Seychelles. We’re reaching 250,000 people, six times the number of people who live there.’ We’ll save the stunning archipelago of 115 islands for special occasions, shall we?
Why don’t they want you to visit? It got too popular. Yes, so many people actually started visiting the end of the world that it lead to a ratification of the Antarctic Treaty in 2009. This now means that any cruise ships that carry more than 500 passengers are barred from landing sites. Now, it’s only possible to visit the south pole if you go with an operator that’s been approved by national authorities. Oh, and you’ll be strictly monitored at ALL times.
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