Sitting in a café, filming with your mobile a huge locomotive passing between the houses of a narrow street, can generate many “I like” in social networks. But when more and more people want to imitate the first person to do so, situations of risk arise, the authorities take action and the possibility of doing so is restricted.
That’s what just happened with a Hanoi street where exactly that happened, and it’s one of the signs of what happens when the tourist, not the tourism, does not know how to behave in a destination. What ends up happening is that limitations appear, or the possibility of going to see him disappears.
Aggravated by Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, this phenomenon is not exclusive to this century, nor should we blame only social networks, since cinema has also been provoking the presence of tourists in places where they were scarce or unknown for decades.
Without wanting to enter the (false, in my opinion), snob distinction between tourist and traveler, or we have more sensitivity to what we are seeing and use more common sense, or I’m afraid that this list of destinations that we can no longer visit as before will expand.
But, be careful, the responsibility also falls partially on the destinies themselves. In order to avoid the danger of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, it is necessary to adopt policies to promote alternative routes, show places of similar interest, encourage out-of-season travel or, ultimately, restrict the number of visitors per day, to name but a few possibilities.
In this article you will find 10 destinations that you can no longer visit, that have been restricted or have had to undergo changes in order not to close to the public.
1Maya Bay (Thailand)
The regeneration of its coral system, its fragile ecosystem in this small beach at the bottom of a beautiful and tiny bay were endangered when everyone wanted to travel to the island of Ko Phi Phi Lee to discover this paradisiacal treasure.
The setting for Leonardo Di Caprio’s film “The Beach” has been closed to tourism at least until June 2021, when a maximum limit of 1,200 tourists a day is expected to come into operation.
With this measure and others, relating to access and mooring of vessels, the Government hopes to be able to redress the situation.
Beyond Ko Phi Phi Lee there is much to see in Thailand, so don’t despair of the closure of the island. We have made a route through the north of Thailand and beaches with the Spanish-Thai agency Mundo Nómada Travel and we don’t miss visiting “the beach”.
This cannon of a name impossible to pronounce correctly at first, like almost all those in Iceland, has had to be closed to visitors not once but twice.
Partly responsible for this, and totally crushing our ears, is Justin Bieber who in 2015 discovered this place for the public when he used it as the setting for one of his music videos.
The never-better step of 150,000 to nearly 300,000 visitors a year altering trails and stepping on impermissible areas of this fragile ecosystem was the by-product of more than 454 million YouTube video plays.
3Everest Base Camp (China)
The world’s highest mountain, which has suffered massive queues of mountaineers on its ascent to its summit, has a base camp in Nepali territory and another in Chinese territory (in occupied Tibet).
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The first is accessible only on foot, in a two-week journey. To the second, easily, in car and to him travel more tourists than one thinks (myself) that leave more garbage than they should (I do not).
And this second camp has been temporarily banned by the Beijing authorities, so that only mountaineers who have permission to climb Everest can access it.
4Island of Boracay (Philippines)
When it began to be said of the Philippines that it was the new Thailand, the old dangers began to threaten this new destination and the best island in the world in 2012 for the magazine “Travel + Leisure” suffered them without exception.
Photo (CC): Joey Razon for Philippine News AgencyPhoto (CC): Magalhães
Massive and noisy parties on the beach, overexploitation of basic resources, increased garbage and waste, collapsed infrastructure were the by-products of this tourism boom that forced the government to close for 6 months the island of Boracay to face a recovery plan.
Now visits to Baracay Island include a limit of 19,200 visitors a day, the prohibition of parties, sun loungers and parasols on the beach among other measures.
5Cueva de Altamira (Spain)
Discovered in the 19th century in the Cantabrian town of Santillana del Mar, the cave paintings of the Altamira Cave have the Sala de los Policromos, known as the Sistine Chapel of Quaternary Art as one of the main attractions for visitors.
Unfortunately, paintings that are between 18,000 and 14,000 years old are extremely fragile in the face of changes in the microclimate of the cave caused by human presence. That is why a “Neocueva” has been built, an exact replica of the Cave just a few metres from it, where you can admire the paintings, created with materials and techniques like the originals, without damaging them.
In addition, you may be one of the lucky five who each week are randomly chosen to see the original cave for 37 minutes, a way of regulating access to the general public under strict protocols.
6Wedding Cake Rock (Australia)
The name “Wedding Cake Rock” of this rock formation in New South Wales comes from its color and shape, which mimics that of a portion of wedding cake.
But the rock is made of sandstone, stretches unsteadily into the void at a height of 25 metres and can collapse at any time. That did not stop the tourists who dangerously sat on it to see the Tasman Sea. Since 2015 some fences, and the application of several fines, have tried to reduce the risk of a fatality, although there are people who still jump the barrier and are photographed in it.
7Pont des Arts (Paris)
One of the stupidest supposedly romantic fashions of recent years is to put a lock on a public place, next to a river or sea course and throw away the key to it.
If the padlocks were made of plastic, perhaps the damage would only be aesthetic (although equally reprehensible) but the weight of so much metal can cause damage to the structure in which it is.
Up to 45 tons increased the weight of the Pont des Arts in Paris and tens of thousands of keys ended up in the River Seine, until the authorities took measures, removed the locks and reformed the original fences including glass panels to avoid repeating the gesture of the lovers.
8The Staircase of the Plaza de España (Rome)
Sitting down to rest after strolling through the Eternal City can cost you from 250 Eur to 400 Eur, if you do it in one of the 135 steps of the famous staircase that descends to the Plaza de España from the church of Trinità dei Monti and that became popular with the film “Vacaciones en Roma” (1953) with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
The drastic measure, exaggerated for some, successful for others, has been taken after 1.5 million euros were paid in 2015 to restore them and clean them of gum stuck and wine stains, among other dirt that shaved it.
9Machu Picchu (Peru)
One of the most iconic places in South America, the 15th century Inca citadel perched on top of a mountain and with spectacular scenery around it, has also had to apply restrictions on tourist visits.
On the one hand, it is necessary to ask in advance for permission to make the “Inca Trail” (the hiking route that ends in the ruins). On the other hand, the daily number of visitors is limited to 6000 in two time slots and all of them have to hire a guide to visit Macchu Pichu.
10La Calle del Tren (Vietnam)
The railway line may be more than 100 years old, but it was only a few decades ago that it became famous as it passed through a narrow Hanoi street, when it was discovered by tourists.
And with them came the cafés that opened next to the sleepers, the visitors who pressed against each other and against the wall while taking photos and videos, and the communist government, as they say after an incident in which a train had to stop because of the excess of people on the tracks, decided to close the (illegal) cafés and pedestrian access to the tracks in October 2019.
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