From beaches to Bieber: Six locations closing after tourism overload

August 28, 2019 - 6:10 PM
Komodo dragons walk at the Komodo National Park in Indonesia's Komodo island
Komodo dragons walk at the Komodo National Park in Indonesia's Komodo island October 4, 2011. (Reuters/Beawiharta/File Photo)

LONDON — Indonesia has unveiled plans to close the island of Komodo to the public from January next year in a bid to conserve the world’s largest living lizard species – the Komodo dragon.

This was the latest in a growing list of locations to close to tourists to protect the environment and/or wildlife.

Here are five other places that have recently closed to tourists:

1. Maya Bay, Thailand

This island cove made famous by the 2000 film “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio was closed to tourists last year until 2021 in a bid to salvage the area’s coral reefs, which have been damaged by warmer temperatures and a flood of tourists.

2. Boracay Island, the Philippines

Boracay Island was closed for a six-month cleanup from April to October 2018 after being described as a “cesspool” by President Rodrigo Duterte. The island attracted 2 million visitors the previous year but has now limited numbers to 19,000 a day and banned beach parties, smoking and drinking.

3. Mount Everest base camp

The Chinese government closed its side of the Everest base camp this year to anyone without a climbing permit due to the huge amounts of rubbish piling up at the site, according to the Lonely Planet travel website. The Chinese base camp, located in Tibet, can be accessed by car.

4. Fjadrargljufur canyon, Iceland

The popular tourist site, featured in one of Justin Bieber‘s music videos, was closed to tourists for about three months this year due to damage from wet weather and foot traffic. The number of visitors had nearly doubled after being featured in the singer’s music video “I’ll Show You”.

5. The Faroe Islands, Denmark

Ten popular tourists sites were closed temporarily this year for maintenance by an international team of volunteers after a 10% growth in visitor numbers in recent years.—Reporting by Louis Stall; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith, the Thomson Reuters Foundation