Last chance! Visitors flock to see Great Barrier Reef before it vanishes.

Art and culture lovers flock to Venice to take in the floating city’s masterpieces before it sinks into the sea. Similarly, the Galápagos islands, the Maldives, and other natural wonders garner many visits from nature lovers looking to behold their beauty before they are gone.

Looking at this phenomenon of last-chance tourism, two researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia surveyed hundreds of tourists visiting the Great Barrier reef last year. They found that 69 percent of them cited wanting to see the natural wonder before it was gone as a motivating factor in their decisions to visit. The boost in tourism can bring immediate attention to the plight of the reef but may also exacerbate the problem in the long run, the researchers found.

“There’s a vicious cycle at play here: tourists travel to see a destination before it disappears, but in so doing they contribute to its demise, either directly through on-site pressures or, in the case of climate-threatened sites such as the GBR, through greenhouse gas emissions,” stated an author of the study in The Conversation. READ MORE.