Posts tagged ‘Machu Picchu’

15 destinations ruined by tourism

Mother Nature Network’s list of 15 destinations ruined (or about to be ) by touristic activities.

Find the entire article on Mother Nature Network website

« Travel and the freedom of movement are some of the great equalizers in the world. It allows people to discover different cultures, to learn about exotic places and grasp the grand scheme of Earth’s entwined ecology. But as we explore the Earth, we must remember to tread lightly. Tourism is good for people, but it isn’t always good for the landscape. Some of the most beautiful places in the world are being marred by too many visitors. Here’s our list of the top 15 travel destinations being ruined by tourism. 

1. Machu Picchu

Perched high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, this « lost city of the Incas » remained hidden to the outside world until 1911, when historian and explorer Hiram Bingham was led there by local Quechuas. Since then, hundreds of thousands of visitors have flocked to Machu Picchu every year, threatening the fortitude of the ancient ruins. For this reason, UNESCO has recently considered putting Machu Picchu on its List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

2. Great Barrier Reef

The world’s largest reef system can be seen from space and is home to billions of organisms. The Great Barrier Reef is also one of Australia’s most spectacular attractions. Despite its massive size, it’s also exceptionally fragile. Vast tracts of the reef have become bleached by pollution and the abuses of too many tourists, and a recent oil spill has decimated the ecosystem. Without proper care, the Great Barrier Reef could disappear within a generation.

3. The Galapagos Islands

The unique biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands inspired Charles Darwin to conceive the theory of natural selection. Today, thousands of tourists flock there annually to retrace his footsteps, but this island habitat is extremely sensitive to outside pressure. In 2007, UNESCO added the Galapagos Islands to its World Heritage Sites in Danger List.

4. Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico and one of the most important representations of ancient civilization. As a result, the ruins have been trampled on for millennia. Today the site is under increased threat from development. In 2004, Wal-Mart Stores opened a branch there, building a large store within the archaeological zone of the park.
5. Antartica

This massive continent to the South is largely uninhabited, and that’s part of its allure. It is a top item on many an adventure traveler’s wish list, and the continent is beginning to feel the outside pressure. (Cruise ships regularly visit its shores.) Antarctica has a fragile ecology, including many native animal species that are sensitive to change. Perhaps it’s best to leave at least one of the world’s seven continents alone.

6. Masai Mara

The Masai Mara in Kenya, the northern continuation of Serengeti national park, is one of the most storied large game reserves in Africa. Unfortunately, it is also losing animal species at an unprecedented rate according to a 2009 study. An average day for a big cat in this reserve means being almost constantly surrounded by tourists on safari.

7. Angkor Wat

With its classical style Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat is one of Cambodia’s largest tourist attractions. The ancient structure even appears on the Cambodian flag. Although tourism helps pay for restoration work, it is a double-edged sword — wear and tear from the annual flood of visitors threatens the integrity of the ancient structure, and graffiti is evident on some of the walls.

8. Stonehenge

Known for its mystical design, Stonehenge is one of the most visited ancient structures in Europe. Over the years, the stones have been disrupted by restoration attempts and disrespectful tourists. The site is also threatened by several major roadways that are dangerously close.

9. Mount Everest

Once a forbidding place scaled only by the most daring explorers, Mount Everest today is littered with trash from invading visitors. Straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet, the area is a place of great spiritual and cultural value. Today, garbage on the mountain includes climbing equipment, food, plastics, tins, aluminum cans, glass, clothes, papers, tents and even the remains of failed adventurers.

10. Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is widely considered one of the great architectural achievements in human history. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and it is visited by millions of tourists every year. But local development and the onslaught of visitors are taking a toll. Pollution, mostly from the nearby Yamuna River, has even been turning the Taj Mahal yellow.

11. Phi Phi Islands

The islands came to worldwide prominence when they were featured in the 2000 British-American film « The Beach » (to this day, filmmakers are being blamed for damaging the local environment), and today they are one of the major destinations for visitors to Thailand. This picturesque place still has pristine beaches and clear water, but it may not have them for long if resort development and travelers continue to flock here en masse.

12. Ngorongoro Crater

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s geological and biological treasures. This large, unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera has provided a natural enclosure for a wide variety of wildlife, making it an ideal location for conservation efforts. Unfortunately the enclosure also leaves wildlife with no escape from the barrage of tourists who flock here to enjoy the crater’s mystique and beauty.

13. Cozumel

Mexico is a popular tourist destination for many American tourists, which has been a burden and a boon — at least for local ecosystems. Known for its beautiful beaches and tropical reefs, Cozumel was once a peaceful place until docks were built for cruise ships. Today the fragile reefs are threatened from pollution from development, and Cozumel is beginning to lose its pristine mystique.

14. Great Wall of China

Many sections of China’s Great Wall have fallen into disrepair because of the scores of tourists who walk along its walls annually. Many parts of the wall have been marred by vandalism and graffiti. In certain regions, the Great Wall has been destroyed to make way for development.

15. Bali

Bali’s delicate island ecosystem is under threat from continued encroachment. Situated at a point where Asian mainland ecology transitions to the ecology of the Pacific Islands, Bali is under threat of increased deforestation, as the area makes way for the tourism industry and Indonesia’s growing population. Non-native animals and plants also threaten this biological jewel.

16 août 2010 at 14 h 18 min 2 commentaires

Inondations au Machu Picchu: où sont passés les Péruviens ?

Tourisme autrement partage avec vous cette lettre ouverte de Roxane Liénart, bénévole chez SOS Faim, sur la situation dramatique de la population péruvienne dans la région du Machu Picchu. Tout ce qui est parvenu à nos oreilles ce sont les histoires des touristes bloqués par les inondations. Quid de la population locale qui a parfois tout perdu ?

« La nouvelle est tombée mardi 26 janvier. On entendait à la radio, et pouvait lire dans la presse, que de nombreux touristes étaient bloqués à la citadelle du Machu Picchu et sur le chemin de l’Inca qui y mène. Ils seraient des milliers,… en manque d’eau et de nourriture. Les fortes pluies ont provoqué, dans la région de Cusco, des débordements de rivières et d’importants glissements de terrain qui ont balayé tout sur leur passage…

Cela faisait juste une semaine que j’étais rentrée d’un stage de cinq mois à Cusco, dans une ONG péruvienne de microfinance – soutenue par l’ONG belge SOS Faim au sein de laquelle je me suis engagée comme bénévole. De suite, je me suis inquiétée pour mes anciens collègues péruviens : Comment vont-ils ? Ont-ils été touchés ? Reçoivent-ils l’aide nécessaire ? Les femmes ? Les enfants ? Les producteurs ?… Qu’en est-il de leurs maisons et de leurs récoltes ?… Mes questions restaient cependant sans réponse. Les médias belges ne relayaient pas d’information à ce sujet et je n’arrivais pas à contacter mes anciens collègues. Tout ce que je savais alors se résumait à : onze touristes belges coincés, parmi des milliers d’autres ; des vols Lima-Cusco interrompus ; la voie ferrée, menant au Machu Picchu, fortement endommagée… Peu après, les médias nous informaient que certains européens et américains allaient jusqu’à payer des 500 $ pour être rapatriés en premiers par hélicoptère ! La « guerre des touristes » prenait place… et toujours aucune nouvelle consistante des habitants de la région. C’est donc vers les quotidiens péruviens que je me suis tournée. Et là, la situation m’est apparue nettement plus inquiétante ! Selon les estimations du gouvernement régional, plus de 7.000 maisons se sont effondrées, 9 ponts ont été détruits et 72.000 km de routes sont impraticables. Il y aurait plus de 35.000 sinistrés. En tout, près de 55.500 personnes auraient souffert des pluies diluviennes. En outre, plus de 16.000 ha de cultures sont gravement affectés. Les médias péruviens soulevaient également les difficultés dans l’acheminement de l’aide aux populations sinistrées, en manque de couvertures, de vêtements, d’eau, de vivres, de médicaments,… Tant de gens se sont retrouvés sans rien en l’espace de quelques heures !
Surréaliste ! … »  Lire la suite

SOS Faim est une ONG belge dont l’objectif général  est de réduire la pauvreté en milieu rural en soutenant l’agriculture paysanne et ses acteurs. Dans le monde près d’un milliard de personnes souffrent de la faim, dont 2/3 sont des paysans et leur famille qui vivent principalement dans les pays en développement. Ces familles n’ont pas accès à une alimentation suffisante et de qualité, avant tout parce qu’elles sont pauvres.

11 février 2010 at 11 h 15 min Laisser un commentaire

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