European tourists are back and so is their bad behavior
It’s as bad as before.
Tourists are back in force in Europe and travel has become chaotic with delays, cancellations and disruptions. If the queues outside airports weren’t enough, tourists with terrible behavior add fuel to the fire.
A series of incidents have been filmed and written about recently where holidaymakers are seen out of control. In a shocking event in May, a Saudi tourist drove a Maserati drives down the Spanish Steps in Rome, causing fractures to two steps of the 18th century attraction. He was apprehended by the police and charged with aggravated damage to cultural monuments and heritage.
Just this month, an American tourist launched his e-scooter descend the Spanish steps while descending the stairs with a companion. It caused €25,000 in damage. Both were initially fined €400 but after assessing the damage they were banned from the historic site. (Sitting in the Spanish Steps has been banned since 2019, and police can issue a fine of up to €400.)
Two tourists have been fined €1,000 for diving into the Trevi Fountain. Tourists are also reprimanded for flying and drone crash in Italy. Unfortunately, such reports are not new. Cities have a fine and banished travelers who disrespected national and historical monuments and broke laws for years.
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Overtourism is partly to blame for a spike in noise at popular destinations, and many countries are now introducing legislation to control the number of visitors and therefore their transgressions.
Not only will officials in Rome fine people sitting in the Spanish Steps, but there are also other behaviors that could get you in trouble in Italy, including being shirtless, jumping in fountains and eating messy near monuments. Venice will introduce a tourist tax in 2023 to counter overtourism. The city already employs “angels of decorum” who patrol the streets and fine unruly tourists and it has banned large ships from its Venice lagoon. Amsterdam is considering banning tourists from its cannabis cafes and its tourist tax is one of the highest in Europe.
Related: The best things to do in Rome
In Playa de Palma, Spain, locals are fed up with drunken tourists causing property damage and starting fights. The Spanish Balearic Islands have introduced new laws which limit the number of drinks at all-inclusive resorts and now bars and restaurants are refusing entrance to people wearing swimsuits and football t-shirts. Spain’s Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdes, promised that poorly educated tourists not welcome in Spain.
And now the Amalfi Coast in Italy has restricted entry for tourists on its narrow and winding road due to kilometer-long traffic jams. Under new rules, vehicles with odd number plates can drive along the coast on odd dates and with even number plates on even dates between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in August and on weekends in June and September. Travelers are encouraged to use public transport to avoid choking the road and the ban does not apply to locals.
In April, a Canadian actor posted performance videos haka, a Maori ceremonial dance, nude on a sacred mountain in Bali. After the video caught people’s attention – it was offensive to Maori as well as Balinese – he was arrested by authorities for disrespect. Since he was not vaccinated, he was waiting to be deported – the airlines were unwilling to airlift him. The video has been deleted and he is banned from Bali.
Bali allowed tourists to stay in the country during the pandemic, but is now tired of stupid antics and brash behavior. Since the pandemic, Indonesia has been fining and deporting tourists who violate health protocols – penalties also include shoes. Travelers who treat holy places as their playgrounds are also expelled. Influencers prankster guards with masks drawn, a couple filming porn on a sacred mountain, a tourist climbing a sacred tree and a influencer posing with a bare sacred tree are examples of the problem posed by poorly educated tourists.
In 2019, the Governor of Bali said the government would expel people who do not disregard local culture and customs. The area has faced threats from overtourism and was on Fodor’s blacklist at the end of 2019.
Now that the world has opened up and everyone is out, it’s important to remember how to be a responsible tourist. Respect the local culture and follow the rules or you’ll find yourself on the other side of the law (and sadly, flaunted on social media as well).