Too many visitors?

There have been reports that some of the world’s important historical and tourist spots are being overwhelmed by visitors. The globe’s burgeoning middle class has discovered its wings and has joined First World tourists to cram such draws as Machu Picchu in Peru and Venice, Italy. 

Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan citadel, high in the Andes Mountains, has been visited by about 5,000 people each day from May to October, the high tourist season. That is about one million people each year. Now, Peru is building a world-class airport that will bring more planes and more people to the area. Once completed the airport would allow visitor traffic to more than triple today’s counts.

Another mount getting overcrowded is Everest. Recent photos show climbers—amateur and professional—all in a line, one right after another. The world’s tallest mountain was once accessible only to the most prepared and hardy climbers. That’s not true anymore. The increased climbing traffic is resulting in a trail of waste from base camp to the summit. 

Venice, Italy and its canals are under assault from millions of tourists. The city was already sinking, add millions of people plus the affects of cruise ships on the docks and piers and you’ve got a disaster in the making.

Many nations around the world have experienced economic growth in recent years. Never in the history of man have there been so many people with the resources to travel to other parts of the world. China alone has hundreds of millions of people able to be tourists outside their own country.

The adverse affect of growing tourism will not abate anytime soon. Around the world, those entering the middle class are ready to enjoy the bounty of their success, and that means taking to the roads, skies and seas of other lands.

It seems that the world will love its historical and tourist spots to death unless there is a way to limit the number of people each year that visit vulnerable sites. Tourism means economic vitality but the world has to ask: at what cost? — LAZ