World's Most Controversial Vacations
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Having determined that rampant, unregulated tourism was harming the area’s unique plant and animal life, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee placed the Galápagos on its list of endangered sites in 2007. The good news is, just three years later, Ecuador’s most famous tourist attraction is off that list. It’s too soon to celebrate. Environmentalist Brian Merchant says, “If anything...the problems have only grown more complex and fundamental.” Some tour operators are accused of “greenwashing” (overstating or misrepresenting their eco-friendly practices), and invasive species still threaten local animal populations.