Kinder Ways to Visit the World’s Most Endangered Destinations

Across the globe, some of our most beautiful and culturally unique places are under threat due to climate change and other impacts of human behavior. Which is why it’s more important than ever to be a mindful traveler.

Rachel Chang
Airbnb Magazine
Published in
7 min readMar 29, 2019

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A cruise ship crosses the Port of Venice alarmingly close to Piazza San Marco.

The world has become more accessible than ever. Countries that felt dis-
tant, such as Bhutan and Morocco, now top bucket lists, thanks to Instagram popularity and affordable direct flights. But a spike in travelers (the 1.3 billion international tourists in 2017 is predicted to surpass 1.8 billion by 2030), along with the effects of climate change, overdevelopment, and pollution, are harming our planet in ways we never imagined — and the
whitewashed reefs, receding glaciers, and plastic-littered beaches are proof.

While the future of the planet may feel bleak, the solutions lie in all of our hands. “One step we can take is to familiarize ourselves with what it means to travel sustainably,” says Kelley Louise, founder of the Impact Travel Alliance, a nonprofit travel advocacy group. Booking direct flights, going in the off-season, using mass transportation, and supporting local businesses can have positive effects on the people, environment, and economy of a destination, she explains: “By searching for ways to be more respectful of local communities, we’re also more likely to discover authentic experiences.”

Or as Airbnb Tourism Advisory Board member and former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai says: “A responsible traveler is one who understands his or her accountability and who believes that travel can and will make this world a better place.”

Endangered Due to Overtourism: Venice, Italy

For 1,000 years, Venetian locals have bought their famously fresh seafood at the Rialto Fish Market. Today, the historic stalls are crowded with selfie-snapping tourists, and a lack of real customers could close the market. The earth’s population has tripled since the 1950s, and a bigger middle class (expected to hit 4.2 billion by 2022) means more…

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Rachel Chang
Airbnb Magazine

Fueled by wanderlust, fulfilled by adventure. Travel, entertainment and lifestyle writer and editor. Alum of Us Weekly, J-14, CosmoGIRL!, The WB.