20 Popular Travel Destinations from the ’70s That Would Be Criticized for Environmental Impact Today

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Global warming is a prevailing issue affecting many areas of our planet, including the travel industry. There has been a drastic environmental shift in popular tourist destinations since the 1970s, with many suffering from numerous issues. Excessive tourism and human ambition have ruined the pleasant settings these places were once famous for. Here are 20 popular travel destinations from the ’70s that would be criticized for environmental impact today.  

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Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef in Australia was once a prominent tourist attraction in the 1970s. It has now been severely affected by the influx of tourists and activities such as snorkeling and boating. Climate change has affected the Great Barrier Reef, increasing coral bleaching and damaging marine biodiversity. Furthermore, coastal development increases algae growth and blocks the sunlight required for corals, causing risks to the fragile ecosystem.

Hanauma Bay

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The waters of Hanauma Bay, located on the southeast coast of Oahu Island in Hawaii, have been degraded primarily due to increasing acidification. The bay has been disturbed because snorkelers trample the coral reef and release chemicals when they use supplements to wash themselves off. As a consequence of the vanishing coral skeletons, marine life is severely hampered, causing an imbalance in the food chain.

Lakenheath

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One would expect rural areas to be relatively cleaner, but Lakenheath, a village in England, has become an area with a degrading environment. The main reason for this is the RAF base, which has increased noise and air pollution while harming the surrounding habitat. Military operations also lead to an increase in chemicals, which negatively affect animals and their breeding. This irregular proximity has caused discord among the civilians, which has led to several environmental concerns in Lakenheath.

 Madagascar

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Probably the most famous island in terms of wildlife, Madagascar is located near Southeast Africa, covering around 229,000 miles. Nearly 90% of the country’s native plants and animals, unique to this location, create a zoological heaven, establishing it as a popular travel destination even in the 1970s. However, in contemporary times, the danger lurking around this island because of the rising temperature and food scarcity has harmed the flora and fauna. Alongside the rising sea levels, deforestation is another factor threatening the island’s species.

The Swiss Alps, Switzerland

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There is no better place than the Swiss Alps for ski tourism and winter sports. This region is a natural feature of Switzerland, containing over 48 mountain peaks over 4000 metres. The influx of resorts and tourists has harmed the air quality and resulted in melting glaciers. Deciduous trees, oak, elm, and chestnut, have all been victims of artificial snow processes, damaging the region’s vegetation.

Lake Louise

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Lake Louise, located in Canada, is a magnificent sight for tourists, especially around May, when the frozen lake melts. The once soothing and refreshing lake has seen large amounts of waste dumped into it, and the numerous tourists who visit the place have littered the surroundings. Provisions have been established to conserve the environment, but the congestion and hotels built for the accommodation of tourists have led to its depletion.

Manatee Springs State Park

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Nothing compares to the tranquility of a boat ride on a relaxing vacation. However, Manatee Springs State Park in Florida was a famous tourist destination in the 1970s. However, it has now been disturbed by excess boating activities and swimmers who pollute this area. Excessive algae has been preventing swimmers from enjoying themselves, for the better or for the worse. These blooms have occurred due to the increased agricultural runoff and pollution from residential areas.

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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Tourism is a remarkable phenomenon, but it becomes problematic when visitors bring invasive species that kill the habitat. Introducing such species in the Galapagos islands of Ecuador has wreaked havoc on the ecosystem. The island is a volcanic archipelago that has undergone several eradication problems and efforts to control the rising sea level. Other issues, such as illegal fishing, despite its ban, depletes the marine population, affecting the overall food chain.

The Rhone Valley

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Even in the 1970s, the Rhone Valley was famous for its rich winemaking and commendable landscape. Its popularity started booming first in the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions, after which the valley became a leading competitor in the global wine market. Today, the valley is harshly affected by changing climates that have altered the ripeness of grapes. Unprecedented rainfalls and even instances of climate-induced over-ripening are negatively affecting the region.

The Dead Sea

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Tourists often visited the Dead Sea during the 1970s for therapeutic benefits, as the area was rich in mineral mud. Nowadays, industrial mismanagement has led to companies exploiting these minerals, which has led to an annual three-foot deduction in water. Replenishing itself is a herculean task because of the scorching hot heat prevailing in the Middle Eastern region. Reports estimate that the Dead Sea will go completely dry by 2050.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

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The Angel Falls in Venezuela is recognized as the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall. Attracting several tourists even in the 1970s, this 979m natural wonder now faces significant environmental issues. The surrounding agriculture and wildlife are facing eradication due to the mining activities in this region. These issues, coupled with pollution and littering, add to the more significant issue of climate change. Precipitation patterns have negatively impacted the falls’ grandeur, thus diminishing the volume of water cascading down.

Borobudur Temple

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Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Shailendra Dynasty, the Borobudur Temple in Indonesia was a popular tourist attraction because of its cultural significance. UNESCO is now protecting this Mahayana temple with ongoing restoration efforts. Overtourism adds extra load to the ancient stone temple, leading to restrictions on footfall. Surrounding activities have harmed the temple’s structural integrity, and acid rain has damaged the stonework.

Petra, Jordan

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The ancient city of Petra, with its mesmerizing rose-red cliffs located in Jordan, is also known as the “Rose City.” This city has been labeled as a UNESCO World Heritage site and continues to be a precious archaeological treasure even in present times. Urban encroachment threatens the city, and new laws are being formulated to control its growth. Unfortunately, the city of Petra is prone to flash flooding and has been a victim of this since the 1960s. In the long run, poor water management, lack of dams, and outdated irrigation systems must be solved.

The Taj Mahal

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An outstanding hallmark of Mughal architecture and heritage, numerous tourists and influential personalities have visited the Taj Mahal in Agra. The monument is made of white marble, which is susceptible to pollution, which is eroding it, causing yellowing and blackening. Some reasons for this are the Yamuna River pollution, the Mathura Oil refinery releasing sulfur dioxide emissions, and insect infestations. The Indian government has been trying to safeguard this monument by introducing the Taj Trapezium Zone, which limits pollution within 10,000 sq km.

Ibiza

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Ibiza, a Spanish Island in the Mediterranean Sea, is a popular tourist destination and even widely known in pop culture. The island, primarily renowned for its large parties and nightlife, is a world heritage site under UNESCO. These nightclubs have attracted many people since the 1970s, increasing plastic pollution and resource strain. This “Party Capital” of the world has recorded twice the carbon footprint it registers every decade.

Ha Long Bay

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The Ha Long Bay, located in Vietnam, is an example of the deadliest effects of water pollution. The bay, a famous tourist attraction in the 1970s, lost its hue due to the increasing pollution over the years, leading to the fishermen’s exit from the area. Industrialization has led to increased production and services, destroying natural habitats and resulting in wastage. The bay has high levels of heavy metals and garbage made up of suspended solids and synthetic polymers, which tend to degrade its quality.

Machu Picchu

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Machu Picchu in Peru, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is also known as the “Lost City of the Incas”. This place is an excellent historical landmark of the Inca empire, containing many ancient artifacts preserved by them. This site is affected by natural and artificial environmental disasters, the former being landslides and excessive tourism. Several people pass through this small city, which disrupts this fragile site alongside other issues like deforestation and mineral extraction. Efforts are being made to conserve this place with tourism police on high alert and agreements regarding a 230 km security corridor.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a section of the Appalachian Mountains that extends along the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. This park has had some unfortunate fires but is a popular tourist attraction. Specific issues like air pollution, climate change, and invasive species have been troubling the park for quite some time. Threats due to airborne sulfur and nitrogen from industries are the highest recorded here than in any other national park.

The Okavango Delta

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The Okavango Delta in Botswana has always been a popular tourist site that has immensely contributed to Botswana’s economy. It is a top African safari destination renowned for its incredible flora and fauna. It is a paradise for bird enthusiasts who can witness over 450 species of birds available in the region. However, the delta, the only water source in the region, is often used by the local communities who drain it. The region has been criticized for environmental impact due to the oil drilling projects, which have destroyed half the region and negatively affected the temperature.

Venice, Italy

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Everyone who has ever walked the streets of Venice has fallen in love with its vibrant charm: The Adriatic Sea, which runs through its canals, is a mesmerizing sight that can have you glued for hours. However, in this place where tourists and local citizens visit the watery retreat so frequently, flooding in low-lying places is a setback. Many artists and activists have tried to control this rising water level with investments in dams and proper drainage systems.

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