Thanks to the internet, an increase in affordability, and shorter travel time, going on holiday is easier than ever. While traveling the world has many economic benefits, the rise of tourism also has some negative impacts.
A number of the world's most famous natural wonders are at risk of being ruined as they struggle to keep up with the excessive demand of visitors. Some may even be destroyed for good, if we're not careful.
Here are some of the most at-risk travel destinations as a reminder to be a responsible tourist when you visit.
Tourism has affected this picture-perfect island so much that it's actually temporarily closed to tourists. President Rodrigo Duterte announced in April 2018 that the island would be closed for six months after calling Boracay a "cesspool" thanks to its poor sewage system, reports Time.
Officials reportedly said nearly 200 businesses (mainly aimed at tourism) were not connected to the island's sewage system and instead were dumping filthy water in the ocean.
Maya Bay, Thailand
Many people will recognize photos of Maya Bay. The images perfectly capture Thailand's clear blue waters, white beaches, and luscious green rock formations.
However, the tourist hotspot, which was made even more famous by Leonardo DiCaprio's 2000 film The Beach, was forced to close in 2018. Thai authorities closed the beach in June 2018 to allow for the re-growth of the coral reefs and aquatic life, according to The Guardian.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Thanks to a number of films and TV shows being shot on the Isle of Skye in the Highlands (Stardust, Snow White and the Huntsman, Macbeth, and The BFG) the isle has seen a huge influx of tourism, flight comparison site Jet Cost told us.
"This increase in popularity has caused an overcrowding problem, with visitors turning up in motorized homes and other vehicles, blocking up the local roads," a spokesperson for the travel company said. Last year, local police warned visitors not to travel to the island unless they had somewhere to stay. In addition to concerns about overpopulation, some residents voiced concern about plastic waste.
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is so spectacular and unique, it's no wonder it makes the cut on many bucket lists. However, the government is mindful of the harmful impact of tourism. So, in order to visit, tourists must go through an official tour guide and pay around £200 (P13,921.26) per day. (Visitors were not allowed in Bhutan until the 1970s).
Jet Cost says, despite the tourism restrictions, Bhutan is still suffering from pollution. "Last year the industrial town of Pasakha in the south found itself in the unenviable position of being in the top ten of the world's most polluted cities. There are growing concerns about the impact that tourism is having on the nation and its contribution to pollution, which may lead to a more severe policy that already exists."
The Indonesian island of Bali has long attracted tourists for its beautiful beaches, luscious rice fields, exquisite temples, vast culture, and relatively cheap way of living. However, in December 2017, the island declared it was in the midst of a "garbage emergency," partly as a result of years of tourism.
Pictures showing plastic waste strewn over the beaches were widely circulated and environmental groups and local workers took to the beaches to try and coordinate a mass clear up.
Pig Beach, The Bahamas
Big Major Cay in the Bahamas is something of an enigma. The only inhabitants on the island are wild pigs, who over time have become accustomed to swimming in the sea. Naturally, this phenomenon has drawn tourists to the island off Exhuma.
However, there were concerns last year when several pigs were found dead and tourists were blamed. According to The Washington Post, a Bahamian man who claims to have brought the pigs to the island suggested some tourists had been feeding them improperly.
Cinque Terre, Italy
The beautiful bright houses on the cliffside of the Italian Riviera are an Instagram blogger's dream, hence why the numbers of visitors to the area have been on the increase in recent years.
Jet Cost says the rise of tourism in the area has "taken a toll on the infrastructure of the towns and visitors have been injured in landslides on separate occasions." There are currently new initiatives in place attempting to both reduce the amount of traffic in the area and raise funds to protect it.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The ancient Inca landmark set high in the Andes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts huge numbers of tourists each year. So much so that in 2017, the Peruvian government granted new measures to attempt to limit tourist numbers. From July last year, visitors are only able to access the site with an official tour guide at a certain time of the day, The Guardian reported.
The warnings date as far back to 2002 when National Geographic reported that overcrowding could lead to landslides. The publication also warned that an excess of people walking the Inca Trail could damage it and cause a litter increase.
Venice is eternally popular with tourists thanks to its gondolas, scrumptious food, and stunning buildings. However, locals' frustrations with mass tourism have reached fever pitch.
Last year, 2,000 locals marched the streets in protest against the rise of tourism, demanding better housing and local services for the city's inhabitants, and rallying against the pollution caused by huge cruise ships.
UNESCO has also voiced its concerns, saying: "The exceptionally high tourism pressure on the city of Venice has resulted in a partial functional transformation in Venice...including the replacement of residents' houses with accommodation and commercial activities." They also warned of the phenomenon of high water, thanks to the increase of high tides caused by motor boats.
This article originally appeared on CountryLiving.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.