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Iriomote, Okinawa: Japanese island to impose tourism cap to protect native wild cat

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(CNN) — Visiting one in all Japan’s most stunning islands will quickly turn into tougher.

Iriomote, in Okinawa prefecture, will prohibit guests to 1,200 per day to stop overtourism and protect the habitat of Iriomote wildcats, an endangered species native to the island, in accordance to an announcement from the Okinawa prefectural authorities.

In a typical pre-pandemic yr, about 300,000 vacationers visited Iriomote, which solely has 2,400 residents. The new cap will lower that quantity again considerably, with solely 33,000 vacationers allowed to go to yearly.

The swell in customer numbers at peak instances of yr has led to water shortages and visitors accidents, the latter of which have injured and killed among the wild cats, that are a nationally protected species in Japan.

The overtourism restrictions aren’t but official regulation, although — for now, native officers “urge (tour corporations) to cooperate.”

Iriomote, the second-largest island in Okinawa and a part of the Yaeyama island group, is known for its untouched pure magnificence.

As it is geographically nearer to Taiwan than most of Japan, the island has a heat local weather year-round, making it a well-liked vacation spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming and climbing.

In addition to the final customer cap on the island, the prefectural authorities confirms that 5 UNESCO World Heritage websites round Okinawa will probably be restricted within the yr to come, together with Mount Komi and the Nishida River.

Those websites could also be topic to vacationer caps, timed entry and superior bookings.

Japan was slower than different nations to reopen its doorways after the pandemic. The nation started welcoming small teams of accepted vacationers in June 2022 earlier than absolutely reopening 4 months later.

Tourism is again, however so is overtourism

A buzzword in journey earlier than the pandemic, overtourism is now an vital subject as nations worldwide see vacationers speeding again.

The Indonesian authorities has made it tougher to see the world’s greatest lizards by charging 3.75 million rupiah ($252) for vacationers to go to the island.

Originally, the island had deliberate to ban vacationers fully however settled on a quota and charge system as an alternative.

And it is not solely Asia experiencing difficulties from too many guests.

Amsterdam is keen to shed its “intercourse and medicines” fame and has shifted its tourism technique, adopting what has been nicknamed the “keep away” marketing campaign.

For instance, if a British internet consumer searches for a phrase like “pub crawl Amsterdam,” a video advert will pop up warning them of the potential threat of dangerous behaviors overseas, like going to the hospital or getting arrested.

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