Not all your dream destinations are going to be here forever. Many tourist spots are slowly being threatened by climate change, irresponsible tourism, and more factors beyond anyone's control, and there's little to no hope of survival for many of them. So if you're currently stuck in a travel rut, here are 10 places in the world that you might want to see before it's too late:
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The sudden influx of tourists in Angkor Wat has resulted to a terrifying damage to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hotels that are being built to accomodate visitors are extracting water from the water table, resulting to the weakening of the foundations of the Cambodian temples. And since Angkor Wat wasn't made to host the millions of people that now come visit, their combined weight is causing irreparable ruin to the grounds.
2. Machu Picchu, Peru
Ironically, Machu Picchu's problems are bred from tourism as well. Erosion and pollution are two of its top threats, both caused by the number of people that visit the citadels. The Peruvian government has long began programs to rehabilitate the heritage site, but even after a decade, many are still concerned if it will continue to thrive.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Climate change is continuously haunting the icy regions of the world and that obviously doesn't exclude Antarctica. Many of the continent's ice caps have melted at an alarming rate due to rising temperatures, which means that your chance of seeing this masterpiece by nature is running low.
4. Venice, Italy
That's right, Italy's floating city is in danger, too. The rise of sea levels has made Venice prone to flooding, and scientists have recently discovered that the city is slowly tilting to the east. The city is continuously sinking as well, and researchers predict that it will sink another 3.2 inches relative to the sea in 20 years. Not only that, it is feared that tourism is to blame for some of Venice's struggles. Its reputation as a tourist destination has made the cost of living higher for its native citizens, forcing many to relocate.
5. The Maldives
Like Venice, Maldives is sinking. Despite being the lowest country in elevation already, this famous honeymoon and vacation spot is being threatened by erosion and land loss into becoming the next Atlantis.
6. The Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan
The Dead Sea's famous saltwaters are slowly drying up and it seems that there's no saving it. The demand for its mineral-rich waters is still rising for its rumored healing properties, and the sea's usual water supplies have long been cut off by pipelines, meaning it has no chance to properly replenish. Book your next trip ASAP if you still want to float in these waters!
7. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The ice and glaciers that Mount Kilimanjaro are known for are once again, victims of climate change. According to a NASA report, around 85% of the mountain's glacial ice have melted between the years of 1912 and 2011, and the rest is predicted to be gone by 2020. So if you want to experience mountain climbing in this iconic location, better gear up, because there isn't much time.
8. Taj Mahal, India
Many of us may think that the Taj Mahal is as immortal as its iconic legacy, but it's definitely in danger as well. Pollution caused by the irresponsible burning of solid waste is its number one enemy, followed by careless tourists that leave everything but footprints. And if you don't believe it, the structure was completely blanketed by hazardous smog just a few weeks ago!
9. Amazon Rainforest
Most (if not all) of the damage done to the Amazon Rainforest is man-made. The lush greenery is being wiped out by deforestation due to illegal logging and cattle farming, along with a longer list of damage by the mining and oil industry. There are sadly more building and industrial projects planned for this incredibly biodiverse location, and it needs more help than visits.
10. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is not dead—yet. Only a quarter of its corals have experienced bleaching due to warming waters, and scientists say that corals do have the ability to recover. However, this doesn't save the reef from the destructive effects of climate change, and it won't hurt to see it now before a mass bleaching event occurs once more.
Plan your travels before it's too late!