For years, Australia's Uluru rock has been a tremendous tourist attraction. More than 250,000 people visit the rock every year, and with 2% climbing it to partake in activities like sunrise hikes and champagne picnics, you can imagine the type of wear and tear that would inevitably take effect.
So it comes as no surprise that on Wednesday, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management chose to ban tourists from climbing the rock. What did come as a slight surprise, however was the reason. For those who haven't spent time in Australia, you're probably unaware of the Native Aboriginals who call the land there home. Uluru rock is more than a tourist destination — in fact at its very core it is a sacred aboriginal site. So while it comes as a bonus that tourist safety comes as part of the package (at 35 people have died climbing the rock) it also comes as a long-awaited form of respect to its rightful owners.
Of course, the Native Aboriginals, who have been asking people not to climb the rock for years, are thrilled. As Sammy Wilson, an Uluru Park board chairman and native Aboriginal said, "It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland. If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don't enter or climb it, I respect it."
The ban will go into effect as of 2019, so plan your travels accordingly.