With more planes in our sky, ships in our oceans and cars on our roads than ever before, the world is struggling under the weight of our adventures.
While travelling is an important part of knowing and understanding your world, tourists need to be mindful of respecting the sites they visit.
Fortunately, there are many options to help you travel sustainably and reduce your environmental or physical toll on your destination of choice.
There are also organisations, like The TreadRight Foundation, which work tirelessly to help fix and preserve waning tourist hotspots.
According to the founder of The TreadRight Foundation and CEO of The Travel Corporation, Brett Tollman, there are some key ways tourists can make more ethical choices. These include:
- Not littering
- Carrying your own non-plastic, re-usable water bottle
- Not supporting enterprises that don't respect wildlife or mistreat animals
- Being aware of the modes of transport with the least environmental impact
- Researching local customs before visiting these places
- Use well-known tourist organisations or operators, who know which local enterprises to support, and how to best travel in certain regions
However, despite the good intentions of many, there are some places that continue to rapidly slip away from us.
Here are destinations facing severe man-made and environmental threats. You may want to get in quick before they disappear!
1. Cinque Terre
Around 2.5 million people visit the Cinque Terre each year, but Italy's picturesque north-western coastal region is quickly crumbling away before our very eyes. Earlier this year, the Cinque Terre National Park body said it would work to drastically reduce the number of tourists walking on the region's rocky cliffs.
2. Southern Africa
Safari hotspots across the southern nations of the African continent won't always be home to the incredible animal species you may see today. The rhino in particular is under the extreme threat of poaching, with current research indicating one rhino is killed every eight hours. "Every year, for the past several years, more rhinos are killed than are born," Brett explained. "We're past the tipping point and unless these killings are reduced, the rhino will be extinct within the next decade or so. A truly heartbreaking prospect."
3. The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is facing threats in all directions. Not only is pollution severely impacting the reef and its stunning wildlife, global warming means the ocean is heating up - already causing significant bleaching and death of the vibrant coral reef.
The Great Barrier Reef
The effects of coral bleaching.
4. White Cliffs of Dover
This may surprise those not in the know, but the governing body of this iconic British site actually sold a 7km stretch of it to a private investor. Many fear the land will be developed into who knows what in the coming years! Imagine a sprawling housing estate in the back of your holiday snaps...
It's widely known that Venice is sinking - though, some are saying it's sinking faster than we realise! That's not the most immediate issue though. Some of the ancient infrastructure is weakening due to increasingly damp conditions and the presence of tourists. Conservation and advocacy group Venice In Peril predicts the city will be uninhabitable within the next century!
6. Atlantic Forest
A number of rainforests around the world face the increasing threat of deforestation. Among those is the Atlantic Forest in Brazil - which is also home to Indigenous communities, and thousands of unique animal and plant species, many of which are endemic to the forest. According to The TreadRight Foundation, the destruction and degradation of the forest over the past 50 years, is on par with that of past 300 years combined. Currently, only eight per cent of the forest remains.
The Golde Lion Tamarin lives in the Atlantic Forest.