India’s most iconic landmark has recently placed a time cap on entry. Effective from 1st April 2018, the cap limits local and international visitors to three hours at the famous mausoleum. Although this may seem a short time, three hours is assured to be more than enough for exploring the monument at leisure.
Why the Cap?
The newly introduced time limit is key to preserving this historic site and its foundations. As one of India’s biggest tourist attractions, the Taj Mahal draws up to 50,000 visitors a day and as many as 8 million visitors a year. Understandably, overcrowding has become a major concern. Visitor numbers have continued to increase, with many overstaying and spending an entire day within the grounds.
The time limit has been implemented to regulate visitor numbers and reduce congestion inside the monument. Tickets are checked at the exits and visitors who have outstayed their allotted time must buy a new ticket. Although there have been no accidents as of yet, the cap is also in place to ensure no future incidents occur.
Will this Change in the Future?
There is currently no suggestion of a cap on the total number of visitors allowed into the Taj Mahal. However, the impact on visitation will be monitored in both high and low tourist seasons before further decisions are made. If the time limit is successful in reducing overcrowding, then a limit on the overall number of visitors will not be necessary.
Has this happened elsewhere?
The Taj Mahal is not the first tourist attraction to place a cap on its visitors. Popular Greek Island Santorini capped its number of cruise visitors to 8,000 each day. Likewise, the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia now only allows 100 people at a time to the top floor of the central tower. Tourists to Machu Picchu also face time limits and must follow a certified guide along one of three designated routes.
Measures such as these are becoming increasingly necessary to preserve some of the world’s best loved attractions. Boracay Island in the Philippines is one example of the detrimental impacts of mass tourism. What was once a tropical paradise has now suffered from severe environmental degradation and inadequate waste management. Hoping to have a positive impact on tourism and the island in the long-term, the Philippine government is closing the island to tourists for six months of rehabilitation this year.
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