World’s famous landmarks left empty

Travel news

World’s famous landmarks left empty

By
9 March 2020

By | 9 March 2020

The current outbreak of the novel coronavirus allows travelers to see the most iconic sites in an unusual way

No crowds, no visitors, no queues — how long will this be the reality at the world’s most famous landmarks? With the current outbreak fallout around the globe, travelers might have to wait a while longer before they can admire them from up close again. On the upside, empty streets also mean an unprecedented opportunity to see tourist sites from unexpected angles. 

A group of merchants in Japan’s Kyoto saw the silver lining of the global outbreak that has hit the travel industry hard. By now, almost no country is exempt from its chain reaction, with Japan among the first. Before the outbreak, yearly visitors to Japan climbed into the millions — 2019 welcomed about 32 million visitors, from which about one third were Chinese. Now the numbers of both international and local travelers have plummeted.

The Japanese shopkeepers saw an opportunity and started an “empty tourism” campaign, claiming that anyone who decides to visit popular sites in the country now, will have them all to themselves. 

The campaign is also dubbed “suitemasu Arashiyama” or empty Arashiyama”. Kyoto’s Arashiyama neighborhood is a popular tourist spot for its temples and shrines but in the midst of the global outbreak, it has turned into a quiet area.

Other places in Japan and in the world report decreased visitor numbers

Kyoto is not the only place in Japan reporting on the low numbers of visitors. Empty arenas, amusement parks, shops, and museums are a reality all around the country. Even Japan’s cherry blossom festival taking place each spring has been canceled.

For those who choose to visit the sites despite the current developments, it brings the ideal opportunity to explore the country, including its slopes, from a different perspective.

Destinations in Asia were the first to see the decrease in visitor numbers, either because of travel restrictions or because travelers chose to cancel their trips. These destinations also include Cambodias Angkor Wat or Bali — two destinations buzzed with the term overtourism in recent years.

Venetian bridges and canals remain empty

Europe has been seeing a similar trend of declining numbers, with travelers taking precautions and avoiding affected areas. The usually crowded places — especially those in Italy, such as Venetian bridges and canals, St. Peters Square at the Vatican, Colosseum in Rome, or the Louvre Museum in Paris — have been empty for several weeks now.

Places in Africa are no exception. As of 2018, Egypts tourism numbers were booming. The countrys travel and tourism sector grew by 16.5 percent that year, which was way ahead of the global average of 3.9 percent. By the end of 2019, Egypt welcomed about 13 million visitors and made about $12.6bn in revenue. Nowadays, the countrys famous sites like the Pyramids are empty.

With the spread of the virus, more and more sites temporarily close their doors to visitors. If they remain open, it is recommended to keep a safe distance from other visitors or skip the visit altogether.

Jana Brnáková

Jana Brnáková

"days like this. like your day today. maybe the rain on the window trying to get through to you. what do you see today? what is it? where are you?" CB