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Some of the world’s most incredible bucket list destinations might not be around in the future. These sights are falling victim to climate change, mismanagement, vandalism and fast-expanding urban development.
We’ve listed seven of the world’s most endangered destinations so that you can visit them before they vanish or change forever.
1. The Maldives
The Maldives is made up of almost 1,200 tiny islands which are just 1 meter above sea level on average, according to NASA. They’re breathtakingly beautiful with powder white sand, pristine seas and balmy temperatures year round.
Sadly due to climate change the islands are slowly losing ground to rising sea levels. The current government is using geoengineering to fortify low lying islands, and while the area might not completely disappear, it may never be the same.
2. Machu Picchu
Almost 600 years ago Machu Picchu was constructed atop the Andes mountains in Peru, designed to take advantage of panoramic views across neighbouring valleys. It was lost for hundreds of years until 1911 when a Yale lecturer named Hiram Bingham discovered it. In 2007 it was named as one of the seven wonders of the world and since then tourists have flooded the area to catch a glimpse.
Sadly this has led to degradation of the buildings and tracks surrounding the citadel. In an effort to stop the crowds further damaging the site local government has introduced a ticketing system and limited visitors to 2,500 a day.
3. The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, bordering Israel and Jordan, is a truly incredible sight. Turquoise waters are dotted by salt crystals and it’s surrounded by dramatic auburn hills. It’s the lowest body of earth on the planet and due to its unique position it’s also the saltiest.
In the mid 1960s neighbouring countries increased the use of its water for commercial purposes, and since then the lake has receded by 40 metres, and continues to drop by 1 metre a year. If this continues the Dead Sea as we know it may be gone within a matter of decades, making it top of the list of endangered locations to visit.
4. The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world’s largest coral reef, blessed with the stunning beauty of over 3,000 individual coral systems. The area is dotted with idyllic tropical islands, and home to diverse marine life.
Sadly the effects of global warming have endangered the Great Barrier Reef. In 2016 a marine heat wave raised the temperature of the ocean by 2-3 degrees in the area, causing 30 per cent of the coral to die.
5. Madagascar’s forests
Madagascar lies 425 km off the coast of South Africa, boasting incredibly diverse terrain – from lowland forests and post-card beaches to dessert and mountain ecosystems. The island is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, in fact, it’s home to 5 per cent of the world’s plant and animal species 80 per cent of which can only be found here.
As of late 2017, Madagascar had already lost 80 per cent of its natural areas and continues to lose close to 0.5 million acres of forest annually, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. Recent studies from the Centre for Applied Biodiversity indicate that if deforestation continues at its current rate, all of Madagascar’s forests will be lost within 40 years.
6. The Swiss Alps
A towering and dramatic mountain range intersects northern and southern Europe, separating the entire continent. The most scenic section of this impressive range runs through Switzerland, east of Lake Geneva. The Swiss Alps are one of the most breathtaking sights in the world, as well as an unbeatable snow sport and holiday location.
Climate change is rapidly degrading the glaciers around the peaks and 71 per cent of all glaciers will disappear by 2040, according to a 2016 University of Fribourg study.
Don’t put if off until it’s too late – see these incredible destinations before they’re gone or changed for good. Before you book your flights get in touch with the team here at Travel Insurance Direct for a quote and for more useful travel advice from the experts.