15 January 2009 ~ 0 Comments

10 places to avoid visiting

Costas Christ wrote a piece on National Geographic Adventure’s blog about 10 places to avoid visiting.

He writes: “I am a firm believer that travel, no matter the destination, can be a powerful learning experience. In fact, some of my worst trips have been among the most interesting. They are the places I still tell stories about. But when looked through the lens of sustainable tourism principles—being environmentally friendly, helping to protect cultural and natural heritage, supporting the well-being of local people—there are some places that stand out, and its not for the better. So here is my top 10 must-avoid travel destinations list (or at least consider this warning so that you know what you are getting into before you go).”

His 10 places are:

Cancun, Mexico
Santorini, Greece
Orlando, Florida
Kuta, Bali
Dubai City, United Arab Emirates
China Beach, Vietnam
Costa Rica’s Over-Developed Coast
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Read the article to find out why: http://ngadventure.typepad.com/blog/2008/12/beyond-green-travel-with-costas-christ-dont-go-there-top-ten-worst-travel-destinations.html

I posted these comments in response:

“Thank you, Costas! I have come to agree with the fact that tourism to some places, no matter how “responsibly” it is done, has a negative impact overall. Like traveling to Myanmar, there are places here in Cambodia where I would argue that a visit is doing more harm than good. Places like the garbage dump in Phnom Penh, which I too visited and thought “as long as I do something to support groups countering the poverty, environmental degradation, and human rights violations here, my visit is justified” are areas I now, three years later, try to dissuade others from visiting at all. By making the squalor of the countries largest dump site a tourist attraction, a peripheral economy is able to grow around those visits. People can sell you water or begging can take the place of garbage picking, all of which make living on the dump more profitable than the opportunity to make up to .50 per day by collecting recyclable materials. This then creates more incentive to live on the dump, provides more reasons for families to send their kids to live and work there, and provides higher income to the adults who “buy” or “rent” kids to work on the dump for them.

Thank you for starting this list to remind us all that our own education and/or fun does not always justify our travel choices.”