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The American guidebook telling tourists where not to go—for a good reason

Travelers looking to get away more responsibly might not always know which destinations to avoid. Thankfully, the American guide Fodor's is on hand to help with its "No List"

Published: Nov 29, 2022 01:16:06 PM IST
Updated: Nov 29, 2022 01:24:24 PM IST

The American guidebook telling tourists where not to go—for a good reasonFodor's has put Etretat in Normandy, France, on its "No List" of destinations in need of a break from tourist hoards. Image: Shutterstock

From overcrowding to the depletion of natural resources and the displacement of local communities, the negative effects of mass tourism are well known. Travelers looking to get away more responsibly might not always know which destinations to avoid. Thankfully, the American guide Fodor's is on hand to help with its "No List."

In 2020, when Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill and borders were extremely hard to cross, natural sites plagued by tourist overcrowding regained their luster due to the absence of travelers. In just 10 days, the water in the canals of Venice was clear again, and turtles had returned to the Thai islands of Koh Phi Phi, which had been ravaged by mass tourism. While travel restrictions are no longer in effect, some natural sites still need to be relieved of the tourist hoards that flock to them. As such, Fodor's —an American publisher of travel and tourism information—has shared its list of destinations to be avoided in order to help preserve them. The guide explains that travelers should not boycott these destinations, but rather be aware of the impact of their choices when planning a vacation. The guide reminds us that travel is responsible for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, and that this is expected to increase by 2023. Mass tourism is thus held up as one of the causes of environmental destruction, a subject ETX Studio talked to the anthropologist Saskia Cousin about during COP27.

As the world's leading tourist destination before the pandemic, France naturally features on Fodor's 2023 "No List," which is broken down into three categories: nature in need of a break, cultural attractions being depleted by overcrowding, and global locations affected by water crises. For example, the list raises reader awareness of the need to preserve Étretat. This popular Normandy destination has been "hard hit by an influx of visitors," writes Fodor's. It continues: "The tiny town’s wastewater treatment facility had to be shut down for maintenance last year as it couldn’t handle the three times as many visitors as its regular population." Also on the "No List" is Marseille's Calanques National Park. A reservation system is now in place to limit the number of visitors to the site to 400 people per day.

Also read: Why convenience is key for post-pandemic travel

Unsurprisingly, on the list of overrun cultural destinations, the American guide warns of the need to preserve Venice, recalling that some 80,000 people came to visit Venice every day during its post-Covid reopening summer. And Italy's Amalfi Coast, where travelers crowd into craggy coastal towns overlooking the island outposts of Capri, Ischia and Procida, needs just as much breathing space during the high season. Finally, when it comes to destinations suffering from water crises, Fodor's reveals that access to fresh water on the Hawaiian island of Maui is proving very complicated, to the point that restrictions have been placed on residents.

The Fodor's "No List" of destinations to reconsider in 2023:

Nature That Needs a break

  •     Etretat, Normandy, France
  •     Calanques National Park, Marseille, France
  •     Lake Tahoe, California, USA
  •     Antarctica

Suffering Cultural Hotspots

  •     Italy's most popular destinations: Venice and the Amalfi Coast
  •     Cornwall, England, UK
  •     Amsterdam, Netherlands
  •     Maya Bay, Phi Phi Leh, Koh Tao, Thailand

Destinations suffering from water crises

  •     Maui, Hawaii, USA
  •     Southern European Watershed (Rhine, Danube, Malaga, Greece)
  •     The American West (Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Arizona, Nevada)

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