Many of these popular holiday destinations are in crisis.
Tourism can be an economic boon for many places, but it can also wreak havoc on the environment and local populations. Renowned travel guide Fodor's has released its 'No List' of travel hotspots to avoid in 2023 to encourage travellers to think twice before they book their next flight.
Unlike the federal government's travel warning list, these destinations span damaged natural attractions and overcrowded cultural hotspots that need a break from visitors.
"This year’s No List does not serve as a boycott, ban, or cancelation of any sort; but a call to travelers to consider wisely the choices we make," Fodor's explained.
If you find it annoying when tourist groups lumber down the sidewalk on St-Laurent Boulevard, preventing you from passing, imagine how Venetians feel being outnumbered by tourists 370 to one in their hometown. Or maybe plan to rent a bicycle instead of a car on your next trip to scenic spots in France, England and Thailand to sustain their natural beauty for future generations. Here are some of the destinations you might want to skip this year:
Étretat Beach in Normandy.
France is facing major erosion along its famed beaches brought on by swarms of tourists. The small town of Étretat in Normandy has been especially hard hit and had to briefly shut its water treatment plant after it malfunctioned trying to filter three times the usual amount of waste. Foot traffic is also causing more landslides in the area.
Lake Tahoe, California
Clear waters of Lake Tahoe.
Increased traffic is polluting the crystal waters of Lake Tahoe. "When it rains or snow melts, stormwater transports fine pollution particles into the Lake, clouding its cobalt blue waters," warns Fodor's. While local authorities don't want to discourage visitors, many have acknowledged that "we all need to give nature a break." There's research underway to figure out ways of taking cars off the road in favour of bike lanes.
A penguin on a dirty iceberg in Antarctica, as a cruise ship passes in the background.
While the South Pole doesn't get huge amounts of tourism, the people who do visit are all sequestered on the Antarctic Peninsula. That area has seen temperatures warm and wildlife decline at some of the fastest rates in history. Boats and planes heading to and from the compact site are polluting the surrounding waters. Dirty, blackened ice retains more heat from the sun, leading to way faster melting rates.
Venice, Italy & the Amalfi Coast
Crowds walk along a canal and cross a bridge in Venice, Italy.
Overcrowding in Venice, Italy, has long destabilised local infrastructure. Not only is increased traffic rising already flood-prone waters but the ratio of nearly 400 tourists per day to a single Venetian resident is pushing many locals out of their homes. Local authorities are calling for longer-term visitors who stick around and learn the city's way of life. Meanwhile, the Amalfi Coast is also facing hordes of visitors, who are causing kilometre-long traffic jams in the mountainous area. "You could have an ambulance [in that traffic] and anything could happen," one deputy mayor told CNN. To reduce cars on the road, residents have been assigned days of the week that they're allowed to drive based on whether their license plate ends in an odd or even number.
People crowded on Fistral Beach in Cornwall.
The idyllic coastline of western England is facing a housing crisis, as temporary accommodations displace locals and drive up residential prices. The volume of visitors to Cornwall, known for its delicious pasties and surf-worth beaches, has become overwhelming in recent years and the infrastructure isn't there to handle them. Roads are narrow and parking is limited, which has led to severe gridlock and heavy pollution. Some local officials recently asked tourists to stay away altogether during summer peak times.
An Amsterdam canal filled with boats.
The influx of tourists to Amsterdam equals the entire population of the Netherlands (17 million people). Now locals are taking action on the overcrowding situation. Beer bikes are now banned downtown and a ban on degenerate cannabis tourists could go into effect. Passenger caps have been implemented in the airport through March of next year, and could well be extended.
Crowds bathe in Thailand's iconic Maya Bay.
Over-tourism in Thailand is damaging national parks so badly that they now close at least one month a year. Maya Bay in Phi Phi Leh which was popularised by The Beach with Leonardo di Caprio was sustaining around 3K visitors daily for years and finally had to close in 2018 due to severe ecological and marine damage. Swimming is now banned and only 380 tourists are allowed onto the site every hour. The constant influx of tourists is still impacting nature in the area though.
A Humpback whale tail in the waters off the coast of Maui.
Hawaiian residents can be fined for non-essential water use, but tourists have unlimited access to water in hotels, pools, and on golf courses. In fact, over 60% of freshwater consumption on the island of Maui goes to tourism. Native Hawaiians are asking travelers to avoid coming to the islands out of respect.