Avoid Traveling to These Places If You Want to Help the Environment
Fodor's 'No List' 2023 calls out the destinations eco-conscious tourists should skip.
2022 has been a terrible year for weather.
In Europe, severe heat waves killed over 16,000 people, nearly 1,700 died in the Pakistan floods, and Hurricane Ian in the U.S. took the lives of 109 people.
Catastrophic weather events caused nearly $37 billion worth of damage worldwide from January to September 2022, according to insurance broker Aon.
Many factors contribute to climate change, including travel, which causes about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
While tourism can boost local economies and, let's face it, most of us love to go on vacation (especially after Covid), there are certain destinations you should reconsider visiting.
Fodor's Travel Guide has come out with its annual No List for 2023, which highlights "natural attractions that could use a break in order to heal and rejuvenate; cultural hotspots that are plagued with overcrowding and resource depletion; and locations around the world immediately and dramatically impacted by water crises."
Here's a look at some of the places they suggest skipping next year.
Oh, the places not to go
French cliffs and coastline
France's coastline is eroding, thanks to an onslaught of tourists. Places like Étretat, Normandy, a picturesque spot that attracted many Impressionist painters, have been hit particularly hard. Fodor's reports that regular foot traffic along the white cliffs is causing frequent landslides.
The situation has become so untenable that even government officials are asking tourists to stay away. "We need tourism, but a balance needs to be found," said Jean-Baptiste Renié, an Étretat city councilor. Many of them [the tourists] leave angry after having spent several hours in the car without being able to find parking, someplace to eat, or toilets because there isn't enough infrastructure."
Lake Tahoe, California
During the pandemic, people flocked to this beautiful spot nestled deep in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They didn't leave. The result has been a mass of humanity and traffic polluting the area and its pristine lake.
Community leaders and residents have become so concerned they've started an organization called The League to Save Lake Tahoe with a mission to protect "the environmental health" of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
According to their website, "heavy traffic crushes Tahoe's roads into fine dust and debris and pumps tailpipe emissions into the air. When it rains or snow melts, stormwater transports these fine pollution particles into the Lake, clouding its cobalt blue waters."
With its historic canals, ancient monuments, and fine dining, Venice is one of the most popular destinations in the world. But herein lies the problem. The city in the water was not built for so many tourists.
Fodor's reports a ratio of 370 visitors for every resident per year.
Venice was already prone to flooding and rising sea levels, and the millions of tourists who descend on the city yearly exasperate the problem. Local authorities have introduced laws to keep the hordes away, including banning cruise ships from the city center. And starting next year, Venice will charge an entrance fee just to enter the city.
Cornwall is popular for its mild climate, spectacular beaches, and unique culture. But like many old cities, the infrastructure can't accommodate so many visitors.
"Narrow lanes passing for roads and limited parking at some of the most popular sites in the county combine to create gridlock, pollution, and litter," a resident told Fodor's.
The Fodor's No List didn't single out one specific part of Thailand—it warned people away from the entire country. Why?
"Popular bucket list destination Maya Bay, Phi Phi Leh—made famous by the Danny Boyle-directed flick The Beach starring Leonardo di Caprio—had to close in 2018 due to severe ecological damage caused by the nearly 3,000 daily visitors and mooring boats," Fodor's says.
And it isn't any better in the north. Chiang Mai, northern Thailand's tourist-friendly city, ranks among the world's most polluted cities.
Maui is suffering from a severe water shortage thanks to record-breaking high temperatures, no rain, and tourists, who gobble up a majority of the island's water supply.
The island has been in a "Stage 1 water shortage" since June 30 due to dry conditions. West Maui, the home of the popular tourist destination Lahaina, is particularly arid.
"As dry weather continues, reservoir levels and ditch flows will continue to drop, and it is likely that Upcountry water treatment facilities will not be able to keep up with demand," said Department of Water Supply Director Helene Kau.
You can find the complete Fodor's No List here.