Let’s talk about the dark side of tourism, shall we?
10. Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans – USA
Right after the Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans, not long before the people had gotten over the tragedy, a weird activity was noticed in the state. The residents of Lower Ninth Ward realised that a lot of people were wandering through the debris-strewn streets. Strangers were coming into the town in huge numbers – people who really had nothing to do with the place. They weren’t relief workers or journalists – bunches of tourists exploring the neighbourhood on a “Katrina Tour.” An activity that left the locals extremely humiliated and disgusted, however, was immediately unencouraged by the City Council which passed a ban on the tour groups crossing the Industrial Canal and entering the besieged neighbourhood. “They’re tired of being gawked at like they’re sideshow animals in a zoo,” Councilman Ernest F. Charbonnet passed a statement.
9. Devil’s Island
One of the three islands that make up Iles du Salut on the coast of French Guiana, Devil’s Island was also a part of the penal colonies until 1952. Devil’s Island has been infamously known as the is Green Hell – a tourists’ attraction in French Guiana. The island was actually once inhabited by prisoners who subjected to cruelty. Several locations and instances also reflect images of people that died in terrible conditions on the island. Prisoners in Devil’s island were all affected by a disease which resulted in mass deaths. The island, the place of such a pitiful occurrence today, however, is a sought-after reputable attraction for people from around the world.
Syria is blessed with the world’s one of the oldest dramatic ruins and landmarks in the Middle East, however, as per the U.S. Department of State, “No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence.” The Americans are advised by the State to not visit this beautiful country that flaunts culture, monuments and history; also urging those who visit to leave as early as possible. Syrian government’s use forces like the aerial bombing of civilian areas and armed clashes between the government and opposition parties resulting into unexplained arrest and detentions further make it a very undesirable tourist location. To add to it, once in Syria, it is also difficult to get a flight out or to cross the border into neighbouring countries, which include Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel.
7. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
The massive sculpted hill that pays its respect to the four of the United States’ most influential presidents in the form of a notable sculpture would not look as controversial as it stands and we do not blame you for that. The Native Americans do not speak greatly of the location that boosts the tourist inflow because apparently, the U.S. government had promised that very land in perpetuity to the Lakota Sioux tribe in 1868, but took it back during the Gold Rush. Later in 1972, the land was approved by the government to be built into what stands today as the Mount Rushmore monument. In retaliation, the Lakota Sioux tribe began carving a bigger monument about 20 miles from Mount Rushmore to memorialize Crazy Horse — a Lakota warrior — in 1948. The authenticity of the sculpture is questioned because no pictures of Crazy Horse had ever been taking; the construction, though, continues.
6. Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The complex set of tunnels that lie on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, run for about a hundred miles and are completely dissimilar to any tunnel ever built before. The people of Vietnam spent 20 years to complete the Cu Chi tunnels using their raw, bare hands to complete the process. These tunnels were where the Viet Cong ate, slept and shielded themselves from the attacks of the U.S. forces. During the War, these tunnels worked as a completely parallel and underground city for not just the Viet Cong but also those seeking shelter from the bombings. The tunnels that were once so small that it required the soldiers to crawl on their stomachs are now widened for the visitors to conveniently navigate their way through. The Cu Chi Tunnels fall under a list of must-see attractions of Vietnam but setting up of souvenir shops and commercialisation of a place where thousands lost their lives is still questioned.
One of the world’s holiest sites for the Jews, Muslims and Christians, Israel is also the home to ancient streets of Jerusalem and unmatched happening life of Tel Aviv. However, the places, unfortunately, is known and talked about more for the religious tension, terrorist attacks and the war that has been prevailing for over sixty years now. Just like Syria, the U.S. Department of State strongly warns Americans not to visit the Gaza Strip and a lot of other areas like that of the West Bank; considering the risks that could cause death. Jerusalem, however, has also been considered as a very safe city by people from around the world; only if you practice rules like avoiding street protests and visiting the religious places only on Saturdays and Sundays. The key is to remain informed and try travelling only to the trouble-free ones.
Believe it or not – this fancy country is on the list, too. The government of Russia lately has been renowned for some really absurd levels of corruption and shocking human rights abuses. The instances of human rights abuses include state-sponsored murders of political opponents, the assassination of journalists who oppose the Putin regime, and open discrimination against members of the LGBT community. The numbers of travellers to Russia from Europe even took a steep dip lately, off by a whopping 25 percent; due to the Russian occupation of the Ukraine and the controversy over the Sochi Winter Olympics when $30 billion ‘went missing’ from the Olympics budget.
3. World Trade Centre, New Your, USA
Who doesn’t know about WTC, once the world’s tallest buildings in New York City? The towers were erected in the 1960s and actually a symbol of financial freedom, became a tourist spot almost instantly. The zen of the New Yorkers and America as a whole, however, could not last long.A van loaded with explosives in 1993 was detonated in the garage of the north tower, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000. The damage that was not enough was further magnified in 2001 when two commercial planes as a terrorist activity barged into the towers, causing them to crumble forever. The attack caused extreme unrest and grief for the state, causing a number of almost 3,000 deaths – just like that. In 2011, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was opened to the public and then in 2014 the rebuilt World Trade Center was, however, again opened to the building. The natives, however, still like to consider it a sacred spot in respect of those who lost their lives.
2. Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China
One of the largest public squares, also known as the place of the June 4th incident, the Tiananmen Square in1989 became the site of the world’s largest anti-government protest of the 20th century. Due to the demise of the political leader Hu Yaobang, thousands and millions of students gathered at the square to demand the democracy that Hu Yaobang symbolized. The protests that lasted for seven weeks were later dismissed by the People’s Liberation Army when they overpowered the participants of the protest, killing hundreds and injuring more. The Chinese government reportedly tries to cover-up for what happened and the loss that followed, even going to the levels of blocking Internet access to any information about the event along with the access to the Square for any foreign journalist. The square that observed such a brutal killing stands tall as an ‘attraction’ for trotters around the world and so fairly controversial for the same.
1. Dharavi, Mumbai, India
Talk of India and a strong cultural history, vibrant culture and traditions, diversity, a fast-emerging economy and a lot of colours pop up your head. A huge lot of visitors, however, are also interested in the dark side of the nation – Asia’s largest slum that exists in Mumbai. A very paradoxical turn of events because Mumbai also remains the city that habitat the bling of the richest of the country. In the pursuit of what is called ‘slum tourism,’ the western travellers tour the poorest and most deprived slum that actually was first noticed after the release of the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire around. the world. The visitors are also offered ‘guided tours,’ letting them explore the squalor in which a million people live and work. No better example of exploitation of extreme poverty for entertainment purposes by the wealthy can possibly ever be presented to the world.