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Paradise lost: Tourists ruin their spots

The Philippines’ most famous resort island, Boracay, reopens on Friday after a six-month clean-up intended to fix the damage done by unrestrained mass tourism.

Here are some other global hotspots overwhelmed by visitors that authorities have moved to protect:

Bali, Indonesia

Officials on the holiday island, Indonesia’s top tourist destination, declared a “garbage emergency” last year after the palm-fringed Kuta beach was swamped by rubbish.

Indonesia, second only to China as the world’s biggest contributor to marine debris, deployed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove roughly 100 tonnes of debris each day from Kuta and two other popular beaches to a nearby landfill.

Easter Island, Chile

Known for its 900-odd grant stone statues known as moai, the isolated Pacific island severely curtailed visitor numbers in August this year because of concerns about the remote Chilean territory’s environmental sustainability.

Tourist stays on the island, believed to have been settled by the Rapa Nui people in the 12th century, were cut to 30 days from 90, after the population — along with the crime rate — doubled in a few decades.

Those who wish to live on the island are now required to be a parent, partner or child of the Rapa Nui people.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

In Dubrovnik, which boasts an old walled city, cruise ship arrivals increased dramatically after it was used as a backdrop in the smash television drama series Game of Thrones, causing congestion as tourists made a beeline for the shoot locales.

Mayor Mato Frankovic told AFP the authorities plan to cut cruise ship numbers coming into the Adriatic port, and to deploy cameras to count the number of people entering the old town.

Venice and Florence, Italy

Venetian authorities are trialling a system that forces visitors to make a reservation if they want to go to the popular Saint Mark’s Square during peak hours.

They are also fining tourists €500 for swimming in the city’s canals or having picnics nearby.

In Florence, officials have resorted to hosing down public spots such as church steps where many visitors congregate to have picnics.

This aims to discourage people from sitting on the wet pavements.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Peruvian authorities increased surveillance at the 15th-century Incan citadel in the Andes mountains in 2014 because nude photographs and streaking became increasingly common at the site.

Tourists have been posting their naked selfies on social media since at least 2013, which the government described as a “disrespectful act” aimed solely at getting attention.

Maya Bay, Thailand

The glittering Thai bay immortalised in the movie The Beach was closed indefinitely on October 1 to allow it to recover from the harm caused by mass tourism, after a four-month respite failed to ease beach erosion and pollution.

About 5  00 tourists had arrived by boat each day to the beach framed by limestone cliffs that was made famous by the 2000 film, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. — AFP

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