Destinations

These are the destinations we need to rethink in 2020

As we enter into the time of the year when every man and his dog is coming out with their hot picks for destinations and trends for 2020, we’ve found a trend list with a bit of a difference.

Fodor has released its annual No List, naming all the places you probably shouldn’t be sending your clients next year in the name of sustainable travel.

The list seeks to highlight ethical, environmental and political issues travellers should consider before, during and after they travel.

Part of the No List is the top-five destinations suffering from overtourism, but according to Fodor, that doesn’t mean they are a no-go altogether, but instead travellers should reconsider how and when they travel there.

First on the list was Barcelona. According to Fodor, the popular Spanish city literally doesn’t have any room left for the masses of tourists who head there each year.

“In many major tourist sites–Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell, for example, which are in residential locations–there is physically no space to expand,” Fodor said.

“Airbnb has made matters worse for locals by flooding the market with short-term rentals, which has had the negative effect of skyrocketing rents for locals. These issues contribute to and compound environmental destruction, community breakdown, and a general degrading of residential quality of life.”

Up next, Big Sur was highlighted as it is fast becoming overwhelmed by tourists who saw the iconic Californian destination on the hugely popular HBO series Big Little Lies.

“Locals lament the lack of public bathrooms and the disgusting roadside consequences of the scarcity of these facilities, not to mention the illegal camping occurring in a state where the deadliest and most destructive wildfires get deadlier and more destructive each year,” Fodor said.

UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Wat is also suffering for its popularity. Wear and tear on the 900-year-old temples is damaging its foundations and structural integrity.

“Concerned about damage to the temple, the agency charged with overseeing it is limiting the number of visitors to 300 at any time who are allowed at the top of Phnom Bakheng hill, a popular spot for sunsets,” According to Fodor.

“A less obvious impact on the area is the water shortage brought on by this year’s drought and exacerbated by hotels in the Siem Reap area, which continue to draw heavily from the province’s water table.”

Bali was singled out as the popular Indonesian island grapples with environmental degradation and a “garbage emergency” exacerbated by the rising number of visitors.

“[due to] the amount of plastic on beaches and in waters; the Bali Environment Agency recorded that the island produced 3,800 tons of waste every day, with only 60 per cent ending up in landfills–an obvious observation to anyone visiting the island,” Fodor reported.

“A ban on single-use plastics (shopping bags, styrofoam, and plastic straws) went into effect in December 2018, and this year, the Bali legislature has debated imposing an extremely negligible “tourist tax” of US$10 per visitor. Water scarcity, brought on the development of luxury villas and golf courses, has impacted the profits of local farmers.”

Hanoi’s Train Street was also highlighted for the vast numbers of travellelrs who flock to take photos of the iconic narrow streets that encase the French colonial rail line.

“But because the tracks are still operational, they come with a dangerous price. That hasn’t stopped the Instagrammers, who gather along the line vying for the optimal shot,” the website said.

“Vendors now cater to the tourists with snacks and drinks, and cafes have popped up, encouraging crowds to linger. Recently, a train had to make an emergency stop in order to avoid hitting the tourists snapping selfies and loitering on the tracks, and eventually was rerouted. In response, the municipal government of Hanoi has ordered that all cafes along the tracks to close.”

You can check out the full list here.

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