It’s pretty tough to discourage tourists from visiting India’s Taj Mahal — the iconic white-marble mausoleum is a masterpiece of architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
But one way the Indian government is attempting to curb the numbers of visitors to protect the monument from overtourism is to increase ticket prices dramatically — from 50 rupees (70 cents) to 250 rupees ($3.50) for Indian citizens, and from $16 to $19 for foreign visitors.
The famous monument, completed in 1648, is one of the world’s most popular attractions, but it’s been feeling the effects of its 7 million annual visitors — the floors are eroding from footfall. The mausoleum exterior has also been damaged by the effect of pollution and insects, and the site is even under siege by monkeys!constantly climbing up the building’s facade. Earlier this year, the Indian Supreme Court issued an ultimatum: restore the monument, or shut it down.
The new pricing structure will also help generate more revenue to fuel conservation and restoration efforts. According to the ASI, the change is expected to reduce visitors by 15-20 percent.