We all long for another time, another place. Wonder and excitement. Foreign lands and unique cultures. But what happens when we go too far? When our desire to escape become destructive, when our loves comes at the ultimate price. What happens when tourists love a destination to death?
1. Bali, Indonesia
With a population of over 4.2 million inhabitants over an area of 2200 square miles, Bali is the third smallest province by surface. With over 5 million domestic and 3 million international tourists every year visiting the island each spending an average of 1100 US dollars over a 7 day period, how can the tiny island nation sustain its culture and environment?
2. African Safari Range. Kenya/Tanzania
A world where you can take a tour through our distant homeland and marvel at the savagery of beasts plus the ingenuity of man to overcome them. But scratch the surface and you’ll see beneath the veneer of false promises and lofty ideals, a world of decay and memories lost. With every new arrival trampling on history and nature.
3. Polar Circles. Arctic/Antarctica
We flock to experience the extremes of our planet, to see sights unseen. With everlasting days and weeks of unending darkness alike, when seeing is believing, loving becomes ruining. While the famed hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica may have healed, much is left to be done to preserve these corners of our Earth.
4. Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is a small province of Thailand, roughly the size of Singapore made up of 33 islands located on the southwest coast centered around the main island of Phuket. The island has become a focal point for westerners for its photogenic white sand beaches and turquoise waters but this comes with a price. The perils of increased crime rates, ecological issues and the over development of beaches.
5. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, made up of over 2900 individual reefs and 940 islands, so large it can be seen from space. It harbours one of the World’s most diverse ecosystems and including many vulnerable species. It is up to us as visitors to temper ourselves and the impact we have on our environment, and to encourage the protection of the reef.
6. Ancient Cities. Mesoamerica
Throughout Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica, the remains of ancient cultures have been preserved and are divided into three main civilizations - the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs. The remnants of ancient civilizations have been rediscovered by a new generation. They are revered and admired but even ruins can be destroyed.
7. Lijiang, China
The Li River of China, also known as Lijiang, is a large but shallow southbound river in the Guilin prefecture, part of the Guangxi Autonomous Region, covering an area of 2500 square miles. Everything that made up the beauty of the Li River and the surrounding countryside is now on the verge of disappearing, replaced with foreign-owned hotels and restaurants, bars and clubs.
8. Tasmania, Australia
Tasmania is an island state in southeastern Australia. Roughly the size of Ireland, nearly half of its population of 500,000 people are based in the state capital, Hobart. With 45% of the island being designated nature reserves and protected wildlife parks, how long can the people protect this precious environment from the tourist footprint and the logging industry?
9. The Great Wall of China
Initially built with the formation of the first empire of China around 200 BC, it was intended to preserve the Chinese empire and later kingdoms from the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe north of China. Now the greatest threat to the Wall is vandalism at the hands of both tourists and locals, as it becomes one of the most visited attractions in the world.
10. Machu Picchu, Peru
The Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site located in the Peruvian Andes, deep in the Cuzco region in the Urubamba Province. Though its true purpose remains unknown, speculation ranges from it being a ceremonial site, a military stronghold or a high-end retreat for the ruling class. Nonetheless, the key now is preserving the ruins from the natural and manmade degradation.