Writing “You’re so cool, never change” in someone’s yearbook definitely seemed like a lame copout back in our high school days, but if our favourite travel spots had yearbooks, that’s exactly what we’d write. The whole world is changing, obviously, but some places are changing more quickly than others, and it’s not always for the better...
Before you know it, your dream destinations could be unrecognizable, and when you look back you’ll be telling your grandkids “When I was your age, the water in Venice only went up to here…”. If you don't cope with change very well, you'll want to check out these places to travel to sooner rather than later...
Venice is one of our favourite island paradises, but with that many islands just barely above sea level and all of its bridges and canals, it’s bound to run into some unique problems. It’s no secret that the city is sinking, and it has been for centuries. High tides, rising sea levels due to climate change and boat traffic are three of the main reasons why the buildings are eroding and slowly being claimed by rising water levels. (Main levels becoming basements in 3… 2…)
The effect is a few millimetres a year which may not seem like a lot, but look ahead a few decades and it’s more than a bit concerning. With floods becoming more frequent, efforts are being made to control the water levels going forward. And no, stilt walking for all is not a realistic option.
The Inca Trail
The wear and tear struggle is real y’all. The Inca Trail in Peru is gaining in popularity, and the more people that take the trail, the more that it will undoubtedly change. It was built to last, but even the toughest rocks wear down, loosen and shift eventually. Every February the trail is closed to the public for maintenance – which is wonderful as they already see a need for preservation – but considering the amount of hikers that embark on the trail every year, it may not always be enough.
There are already limits on the number of hikers that can visit per day (500), and there is always the looming option of increasing hiking fees and further restrictions to preserve this site in the future. So get those hiking shoes broken in sooner rather than later…
Cuba is known as a cultural gem in the Caribbean, largely due to the US trade embargo in place, but this is all expected to change with the travel ban being lifted in 2016. Tourism numbers have been manageable with the lack of American visitors, and many are worried about how the impending influx of tourists next year will affect the cultural integrity of the island.
Not only that, but Cuba doesn’t currently have the infrastructure to support that volume of tourism, and service levels could suffer in the short term as a result. So if you’re looking for that old-world charm, try and get it before the golden arches and overpriced coffee shops move in.
The Taj Mahal
Mo’ money and mo’ problems are in store for the Taj Mahal. Not only are fees to visit this marble-ous palace increasing in an effort to limit tourists, but it’s moving towards not looking so marble-ous at all. Pollution is causing the Taj Mahal to turn from white to yellow, and something tells us once this worsens it won’t really have the same postcard worthy affect that draws visitors from all over the globe.
Groundwater levels and general tourist traffic have also been creating some structural damage to the palace, which has led to whispers of public access being restricted in the near future.
Spanning 9 nations and making up more than 50% of the remaining rainforest in the world, the Amazon is seen as one of the top places to travel for wildlife and tree lovers – but for how much longer? Climate change – drought, wild fires and greenhouse gas emissions – as well as deforestation are causing an alarming loss of forest cover that have many wondering how long it will be until it’s destroyed completely.
Whether it’s solely climate change or climate change combined with cyclical change in the area, thawing in this icy area is a big problem. Not only is this an issue for glacier enthusiasts and the wildlife that call the Antarctic home, but the resulting rising water levels put many coastal cities and islands worldwide at risk of flooding.
The Dead Sea
The literal death of the Dead Sea is something that has started to cause major alarm as of late. The evaporation of the water combined with the lessening of water flow from the Jordan River (due to use for irrigation) into the sea means seriously decreasing water levels. This loss of water has caused a big sinkhole problem that also makes the surrounding area risky for lakeside strolls.
Any UNESCO heritage site
Having the spotlight on something so magnificent is not always a good thing. Any attraction with lots of foot traffic is subject to wear and tear, vandalism, litter, pollution and all of the other crappy stuff that comes with significant popularity. It’s great that we are able to experience these sites in general, but sustaining the tourism demands while maintaining the authenticity and cultural aspects that make it popular in the first place is a delicate balance.
Tread lightly and do your part to keep our worldly wonders around for the generations of selfies and weird poses to come.