You might want to sit down for this, but tourists are ruining the places they visit. I know, I needed to take some deep breathes myself. The New York Times travel section amassed a few stories from around the globe about bad behavior from tourists and defacing historical landmarks.
It’s a familiar storyline that dates back to the MTV Spring Break episodes of the 90s. College kids and post-grads score sweet deals to Cabo, Ft. Lauderdale or Lake Havasu with promises of cheap booze, loose policing and drunken hook-ups.
The difference now is that it’s happening on a global scale. Magaluf, Majorca is the focus of the Times story, where British lads and birds are jumping on cheap EasyJet flights to cruise the many nightclubs and bars along Punta Ballena. Locals are upset, town officials are embarrassed and the business are making a mint.
The drunken tourists is one half of the story. The other half are ones who are causing damage with their stupidity and dumb behavior.
Here’s the rundown:
- Australian tourists were allegedly caught having sex on a park bench near Florence’s popular Ponte Vecchio. There’s even a Facebook group that chronicles bad behavior in the city.
- Also in Florence, a Spanish women climbed on top of a the statue of Dante Alighieri so she can get her picture taken.
- In Rome, two American women were arrested for carving their initials at the Colosseum. Obviously, it’s not the first time somebody was arrested.
- Two idiots broke a priceless statue of Hercules at Loggia dei Militi palace in Cremona, Italy.
- In Milan, two South Korean tourists crashed their selfie taking drone into the city famed Cathedral.
- Back at Windsor Castle in England, I’m sure saw the YouTube video for the fuck head who was messing with the Queen’s guards. The guard should have stabbed him.
- In Malaysia, four were arrested when they stripped naked and took photos on top of the Mount Kinabalu, a sacred mountain.
While these make get an eye roll and a tut tut, this is not how tourism should be. Yes, getting drunk happens when you travel. There’s “Oh my, I might have had one too many” and then there’s “*Barf* Fuck you. Get me another god damn drink. Oh, you want to fight me now, bitch.”
With social media and the narcissistic society we’ve created, it’s turned the tourist population into assholes. The Times piece quotes Mark Watson, executive director of Tourism Concern: “Travel today is very cheap and people think they can do whatever they want in a globalized world. It’s changed from a holiday where you engage with different cultures to an opportunity to drink alcohol very cheaply and get very drunk.”
The solutions are obviously more policing, but I’m all for public shaming. Posting mug shots of evil doers who think that climbing on historic works for a selfie is no big deal. Jon Ronson’s new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, deals with this. While lives have been ruined when they’ve been shamed, it should serve as a hard cautionary tale.