Wedding Cake Rock in Australia was named for its pristine white color and cake-like shape. The cliff, which is part of the New South Wales Royal National Park, is extremely delicate and unstable. The beautiful place used to draw around 2,000 visitors per month but in this era of selfies and Instagram, that number has swiftly risen to 10,000.
Australian authorities were forced to erect a fence to keep people off the cliff in 2015, but unfortunately, many tourists simply climb over it. Recently, a report has been issued that the formation will probably collapse in the next 10 years.
The Azure Window
Malta’s Azure Window, a 92-foot-tall natural arch, faced thousands of storms over the years. It withstood them all until its eventual collapse in March 2017. The arch was located on Dwejra Bay on Gozo Island and was one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions.
The arch appeared briefly on the HBO hit show Game of Thrones before it succumbed to the forces of nature.
In 1896, wealthy entrepreneur Adolph Sutro built the Sutro Baths in San Francisco and opened them to the public. They served as the largest indoor swimming pool in the world and retained that title for decades. The baths were immensely popular but had difficulty making a profit due to the enormous costs for their maintenance and operations.
The baths consisted of saltwater pools which drew water in directly from the ocean and from one freshwater pool. After the baths were closed, the structure was turned into an ice skating ring and eventually burned down in 1966. The charred ruins now serve as a reminder of its glorious past.
The Great Barrier Reef
In April 2016, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef become worldwide news, when it was announced that over 93% of the coral reef had been affected by bleaching to some degree. Bleaching is caused when water temperatures or other environmental factors change too rapidly and the algae that live in the coral are expelled essentially turning them white. Bleaching is about more than just losing all the beautiful colors of the reef; it usually means that the coral is under extreme stress and may not survive.
These days, less than 1% of the Northern sector is untouched and only 25% of the Southern sector is still in pristine condition. Restoration efforts are taking place, but it is highly unlikely that we will get to experience this amazing location in its full splendor in our lifetime.
White Sand Beaches
The white sand beaches of the Caribbean have been drawing tourists from all over the world for decades. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma did massive damage to many beach resorts and the losses are believed to be in the billions. The powerful storm hit in August 2017, which was terrible timing because the airlines, hotels, cruises, and attractions are at their peak during the fall and winter months when people want to get away from the cold.
Or as Hugh Riley of the Caribbean Tourism Organization put it, “Any disruption in tourism is a disruption of our livelihood”. There has been extensive work done after the storm and tourism is starting to pick up again although the beaches have not been completely restored yet.