Throughout the world there are a number of must-see tourist sites. These popular places are beautiful, full of culture and history, or encasing natural awe. However, many of these iconic places are at risk of disappearing or being destroyed.
There are many factors at play with these destinations. For some, the location is at risk from geological activity. In other cases, the increase in global warming could send them into the ocean. For any number of reasons, that vacation spot you so desperately want to see, may not be around for much longer.
We are becoming more and more aware of some of the potential damages that humans are doing to the planet. From this awareness, we are realizing all the great tourist destinations we have may no longer exist soon. The reduced time that we have to see some of these sites has driven countless people to visit these places before it is too late.
The ancient city of Machu Picchu was a rather recent discovery. The city was built in the 15th century, but only rediscovered about 100 years ago. This Incan site brings in a staggering number of visitors every year. These tourists are starting to cause damage to the area, and the government is trying to give incentives for people to visit other sites near Machu Picchu.
The other risk faced by Machu Picchu is that it is built on a fault line. This means that an earthquake in the area could destroy the whole city, including the iconic Inca citadel. An earthquake along that fault line could cause mass destruction to the site, crumbling away all the culture and history contained within the city.
Great Barrier Reef
Located off the shores of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is a giant and vibrantly colored living structure. It is home to countless types of organisms including plants, fish, and other ocean dwellers. This landmark, which is the only living structure that can be seen from space, is not likely to be around for much longer.
In the last 30 years, almost half of the reef has died. It is being harmed by a number of factors including the increase in ocean temperature, the introduction of invasive species, and costal development. Coral bleaching events have also become more regular, and these massive damaging occasions can wipe out miles of the coral in months.
With the likely destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, tourists have been rushing to visit it before it is gone. This increase in human contact was originally considered something that may cause harm to the reef at an even greater rate. However, with the greater attention on the reef and extra tourist dollars, more efforts than ever are in place to help preserve it.
The chilly home to all types of penguins, Antarctica, is the most southern continent, and is over 5 million square miles in area. The isolation of Antarctica allowed it to be relatively untouched by humans until the 20th century. For much of that time, visitors to Antarctica have generally been travel enthusiasts who wish to visit all the seven continents, and scientist who require the unique environment for experimental purposes.
Antarctica is feeling the rise in global temperatures a great deal. The ice fields, while beautiful to behold, may be gone before you get a chance to see them. In fact, the possibility of Antarctica disappearing is drawing in record numbers of tourists to the continent.
While scientists believe it is faring better than the northern artic icefields, the prognosis still is not good. The unique landscapes and shocking beauty could entirely melt away. This could occur within the next century, and that is driving many people to make the trek while it is still around.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is also put in extreme risk due to the rising global temperatures. It is the most visited natural park in the United States, and the short life expectancy is pushing hikers and nature lovers to go while it is still here.
This national park is located in Montana and covers approximately 1,500 square miles. It boasts more than 700 miles of hiking trails, and has beautiful mountains and valleys. These spectacular views are shaped by glaciers moving through the mountains, and etching their path as they continue.
Glacier National Park is one of the tourist spots that has been negatively impacted by climate change in a significant way. The park now only has 25 glaciers; at one point it had 150. Some people estimate that within only several decades, the last of the glaciers will have melted.
All that melting water from the glaciers and artic circles is going somewhere, and that somewhere is the ocean. The average ocean level rises between four and eight inches a year, and that spells disaster for some coastal cities. Venice is known as the floating city; it is built partially in the water, and rising sea levels are threatening to sink it.
Venice is a historical Italian city, and brings in many tourists every year. It is a hot spot for culture, and considered a must see for travel enthusiasts. It is home to many beautiful gothic style architectural pieces, and the bed of many artistic advancements.
The city currently has been seeing a record number of flooding events, and engineers are racing to find a way to keep it afloat. However, even with the best engineering minds, you may want to visit Venice soon, while it is still above the water.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is the world’s saltiest sea. People from around the globe go to bathe in the muddy and salty waters. Technically, the Dead Sea is more accurately classified as a lake, but that does not change its fate. Due to water diversion for agriculture purposes and fertilizer production, the lake is quickly draining.
Over the last several years, the level has dropped at an average rate of five feet per year. This leaves a number of sinkholes, and the receding shoreline leaves resorts in strange places. Some of the most popular resorts in the area are now close to a mile away from the shoreline. The estimate is that in about 50 years, the Dead Sea will be completely gone.
Limited Time Only
With the great change that the Earth is currently experiencing, it is painfully clear some of our most beloved sites may no longer be with us. As temperatures rise, living beings die, and ocean levels increase, some of the beauty in the world is at risk of leaving forever.
Many people, governments, and scientists work hard every day to try to reduce these impacts. Their efforts may help keep some of the iconic tourists’ spots around for a little bit longer. However, many of these places will only be around for a short time, and when they are gone, they are gone.
If you are hoping to see any of these places, you may want to start booking soon. Many people realize that they have only a short time, and the increase in tourist traffic can make booking trips to these sites more difficult. Travelling is an amazing experience, and hopefully you will not miss out on any of these awesome destinations.