The closure of the popular tourist destination is only one of a few recently-announced measures by attractions that are limiting visitors to deal with problems arising from overcrowding. Even in Canada (photo above) ) some unwilling hosts wish to limit visitors and even stop photographs.
Here is a list of some of places that are introducing measures to keep tourist numbers in check.
1. THAILAND TO SHUT MAYA BAY FOR FOUR MONTHS TO RESTORE NATURAL ECOSYSTEM
One of Thailand’s best-known tourist attractions, Maya Bay, the backdrop for the 2000 film The Beach, will be closed to all visitors for four months, The Nation reported.
The decision to temporarily close Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island in Krabi to all tourists during the monsoon season from June to September was approved at a meeting of marine national parks chiefs in late March.
The filming of the movie at Had Nopparat Thara-Phi Phi Island National Park made the area one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Thailand.
However, the increasing number of tourists visiting the Phi Phi islands and Maya Bay has led to overcrowding, and also harmed its natural beauty and ecosystem.
Worapoj said the problem of “overtourism” could be resolved by a four-month closure of Maya Bay, which would enable nature to restore itself, allow damaged coral reefs in the bay to regrow, and also prevent danger to tourists from rough sea conditions during the monsoon season.
According to data on tourist numbers with the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Had Nopparat Thara-Phi Phi Island National Park was found to have drawn the highest number of visitors last year – nearly two million.
It is expected that by the end of fiscal year 2018, the number of tourists at Phi Phi Islands could reach 2.5 million.
Leading marine biologist and major campaigner on the Maya Bay closure plan Thon Thamrong-nawasawat said the seasonal closure was a major step towards environmental preservation of all famous marine tourist attractions in Thailand, as overtourism had taken a great toll on the marine ecosystems and natural resources.
He suggested that the next goal should be to restrict the number of tourists at Maya Bay to no more than 2,000 per day, to prevent negative impact. He said Maya Bay had received on average 3,700 tourists per day, which was well beyond the capacity of the area.
He also said during the monsoon season, the number of tourists heading to Maya Bay peaked at as many as 5,000 per day, as the other major islands were closed to visitors during the period and tourists crowded the remaining islands that were open.
2. THREE-HOUR LIMIT FOR VISITS TO INDIA’S TAJ MAHAL, RULE TAKES EFFECT THIS MONTH
Visits to the Taj Mahal will be capped at three hours as of this month, India’s most popular tourist attraction announced.
The measure is aimed at crowd control. According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the Unesco World Heritage site can receive up to 50,000 visitors a day during peak season.
The white marble mausoleum draws an estimated seven to eight million people a year.
ASI officials told The Times of India that tickets will be time-stamped and will likely be manually checked by staff.
The measure comes months after the authorities said it would be restricting the number of local tourists allowed to enter to 40,000 per day.
The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth in 1631.
3. SANTORINI LIMITS NUMBER OF CRUISE PASSENGERS TO 8,000 PER DAY
Greek island Santorini has capped cruise visitors at 8,000 this year.
The figure was 12,000 last year.
In 2015, there were 636 cruise ships taking 790,000 people to the scenic isle, CNTraveler.com reported.
Only 439 cruise vessels have registered to visit the island this year, Greek news site Kathimerini reported.
A new scheduling system has also been implemented, with cruise companies asked to modify arrival days and stagger landing times.
Last year, The Guardian reported about how locals in Santorini said it has hit saturation point.
“Our island’s reputation is cause for joy but also frightens me hugely,” Manolis Karamolegos, the head of the Santorini Hoteliers’ Association, told The Guardian. “I worry about tomorrow, of where it will lead. Tourism is posing a risk to our social cohesion. Everywhere, people are building or renting out their homes.”
4. CINQUE TERRE MANAGES TOURIST NUMBERS WITH ONLINE TICKETING
Thousands of tourists flock to Cinque Terre, a string of seaside villages on the coastline of the Italian Riviera, every year.
Last year, the area received about 2.5 million visitors.
To stem the tide, an online ticketing system was introduced last year to manage tourism numbers.
Additionally, officials hope to establish a tourist-only train system that will let through only tourists who have bought tickets.
Its capped entry cards include services such as rail connections and are linked with an app giving real-time information on visitor numbers in each village.
SOURCES: AFP, Mashable, Reuters, Stuff.co, The Guardian, The Nation, The National Herald
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