The long-term effects of the pandemic for tourism on major sites have yet to be determined. Some fear that a lack of income could hinder important repairs. Others see an opportunity for sudden silence: an opportunity for nature to recover and for a subsequent move towards sustainable tourism.
Some attractions, such as the Great Wall of China, have seen in recent months an influx of domestic visitors who have taken over from foreigners. Meanwhile, other sites, such as Peru’s Machu Picchu, are still waiting to reopen for large-scale tourism.
Here’s how some global tourist destinations, selected as finalists or winners in a 2007 survey by the Swiss New7Wonders Foundation but not necessarily a matter of consensus, were affected by the pandemic.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Less than two weeks after Italy became the first country to impose a nationwide lockdown in response to the novel coronavirus, Mexico should celebrate the biannual equinox in the Kukulkan pyramid at Chichén Itzá, the ruins of an ancient city built by the Maya.
The event in late March ̵1; an illusion of natural light and shadow throwing a moving snake on the steps of the pyramid – usually attracts thousands of visitors.
But a few days before the ceremony was scheduled, authorities canceled the plan, citing the spread of coronavirus. A massive influx of summer infections has pushed many of the 11 million Mexicans who depend on tourism for unemployment and poverty.
Mexican authorities gradually reopened archaeological sites last month, including the Mayan city of Teotihuacan, after implementing temperature tests, mask mandates and far-flung social rules. All sites are running at reduced capacity.
The Great Wall, China
By the time many Mexican sites reopen to small crowds last month, China’s Great Wall is already talking about the return of overcrowding.
Like China, the initial center of the pandemic, aggressively prevented the spread of the virus, the country’s tourism leader created many gaps created by the absence of foreign travelers. While visitors to the Great Wall were still sparse in early May, bookings advanced in the following weeks.
Earlier this month, China’s Global Times government newspaper published crowded scenes during a national holiday, with tourists on the Great Wall “waiting and queuing up through some narrow, steep stairs. . “
The Colosseum, Italy
Rome opened many of its tourist sites in June but required the purchase of online tickets for the Colosseum and other major attractions.
Although it was one of the first international attractions to reopen after the early nationwide lockdown in Italy, few tourists arrived in Rome this summer.
Some have been hampered by Italy’s perception as an early place of coronavirus, despite the country having one of the lowest rates of infection in Europe in the summer. Others have been unable to fly due to European Union restrictions on the entry of travelers from most countries outside the block.
By the end of July, tickets for the Colosseum are still available at short notice and there are no lines outside the standard packed entrances.
With Italy now facing an influx of infections, the country is waiting for stricter restrictions this winter.
Taj Mahal, India
In one of the most devastated countries in the country, the 17th-century Taj Mahal mausoleum of India reopened last month, after six months of closure.
Known in India as a symbol of love, the Taj Mahal reopened under strict health precautions, including limited visitor numbers and required masks.
“We want to send the message that things are not so bad and that you are safe if you follow the instructions,” Vasant Swarnkar, a representative for India’s Archaeological Survey agency, told Agence France-Presse.
India has not yet opened up to foreign travelers, and businesses are worried that the revenue from domestic travelers will not be enough to offset the losses.
“People do not want to go on vacation,” Manu PV, a representative for a tourism association in India, told Reuters. “They are very worried. There is a fear factor. “
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Even destinations that remained accessible this year were severely affected by the steep drop in visitor numbers.
The temple complex of Angkor Wat, which is religious in Cambodia, has remained open throughout the year. But ticket revenue from foreign travelers fell 97 percent year-on-year in September, the Khmer Times reported.
The statue of Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
As the coronavirus spread to Brazil – as President Jair Bolsonaro mocked it and refused to impose strict curbs – the Rio de Janeiro statue of the 125-foot Christ the Redeemer statue is reminiscent of the pandemic.
The statue was displayed on a doctor’s coat in a light projection April 12, Easter Sunday, while the city’s Roman Catholic Church archbishop Dom Orani João Tempesta celebrated a mass near its base to honor workers in health care.
“The re-opening of Christ [monument] symbolizes Brazil’s reopening of tourism, “Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said, according to AFP.
Machu Picchu, Peru
For business owners in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes, a gateway for visitors to the 15th-century Inca fortress, the pandemic became a major economic challenge. Most visitors leave the country on return flights following the closure of Machu Picchu.
The initial date of Machu Picchu’s reopening in July was delayed, as cases escalated into the country.
Last weekend, the site finally reopened for a Japanese tourist, who waited seven months for his stay. Jesse Katayama, 26, a boxing instructor, decided to stay behind after the state of emergency declared Peru – a day before he could be seen due to ancient ruins.
The sympathetic locals lobbied him, and the Peruvian government agreed to make an exception this month.
It is expected that the site will begin to admit to other visitors in reduced capacity next month, as the country will gradually open up to foreign travelers amid falling cases.