Tourism can make or break a region, and we do literally mean break. From vandalized historical sites and overcrowded medieval streets to pollution and a sinking city here are 10 sites that are being damaged by tourism.
Venice - Italy
With its gorgeous architecture, incredible museums, narrow streets seeped in history and myriad of canals
Venicehas been a mainstay on every single travel bucket list. While the historic city center has a population of only 55,000 every day the city gets a minimum of 50,000 foreign visitors. This constant influx of tourists means that overcrowding is a huge problem with visitors often unable to access key sites. The high numbers of cruise ships, which dock in the Venetian Lagoon, pose a threat to the city's fragile canals and changing climate is directly responsible for the city's literal sinking.
The Colosseum - Rome The Colosseumis perhaps one the most recognizable structures not only in the Italian capital, but also in the rest of the world. Built nearly two thousand years ago, the Colosseum attracts thousands of tourists each day. However with the huge numbers of visitors came the inevitable blight of vandalism, with visitors being accused of littering, carving their initials in the walls as well as chipping off pieces of the structure to take as souvenirs. The situation got so bad that the Roman authorities had to introduce finds of thousands of euros for anyone caught damaging the historic sight.
The Great Wall of China - China
While claims that
the Great Wall of Chinacan be seen from the moon have been debunked numerous times, whether or not it can be seen from Earth's lower orbit is still being debated - all this is to say that The Great Wall of China is one of the largest manmade structures on the planet. As of China's and the entire world's most well-known UNESCO Heritage Sites the Great Wall attracts thousands of tourists each day. The overcrowding, which results from the high number of visitors, is proving very costly, with the wall not being built to withstand such heavy foot traffic. Visitors have also been known to vandalize the architectural marvel, both with graffiti and by taking parts of it as souvenirs.
The Great Barrier Reef - Australia The Great Barrier Reefis undoubtedly one of Australia's most well-known attractions, and why wouldn't it be? The Great Barrier Reef is made up of some 2,900 separate reefs and stretches for an impressive 2,300 kilometers, is the single largest structure made by living organisms and unlike the Great Wall of China it can definitely be seen from space. The reef's frankly awe-inspiring biodiversity has attracted divers and snorkelers from far and wide. However scientists are concerned that the high number of visitors to the area, coupled with rising levels of pollution and temperature, are damaging the reef's fragile ecosystem.
Mont Saint-Michel - France
This French island commune is quite simply put otherworldly - so much so that it has acted as the inspiration behind the design of multiple castles in cinema. The island which is topped by an 8th century abbey is located about one kilometer off the coast of Normandy and is only accessible on foot during low tide. While
Mont Saint-Michelhas a population of only 44 people every day it receives hundreds if not thousands of tourists. The crowds were once described as literally walking shoulder to shoulder taking up the entire width of the street.